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A Million Miracles

It’s thought that 20 million people worldwide are blind because of cataracts. Thanks to your support, our campaign has raised enough money to provide a million cataract operations.

Winesi March and his wife embrace at the joy of his sight being restored.

In 2014, Sightsavers launched the Million Miracles fundraising campaign to fund a million sight-saving cataract operations in some of the poorest parts of the world.

In 2017, we reached our target of raising £30 million. This amazing achievement was made possible thanks to the generous support of our donors. We’re truly grateful to each and every one of you.

Much of the income we raised during the campaign was matched by the UK government, pound for pound, through the UK Aid Match initiative. The final Aid Match scheme for Million Miracles ran from 9 October 2017 until 9 January 2018, and helped us to smash our initial target. In total, the Million Miracles campaign raised almost £32 million over the three years, which has helped to change lives worldwide.

“My life has completely changed – I am able to see my wife, my children and my grandchildren again.”
Winesi March, Malawi
Winesi celebrating, very happy after surgery.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a small build-up of protein in the eye that, if left untreated, can cause blurred vision and eventual blindness. Cataracts can be present from birth, or can be brought on by old age or trauma to the eye.

For most adults, cataracts are completely reversible, but for children there’s an urgency to treat them quickly. Cataracts can stop a child’s eyes from developing properly, and if the cataracts are not treated in time the child’s sight may never return, leaving them permanently blind.

Why is restoring sight so important?

For many people living in poor, rural communities, life without sight can be particularly difficult. If a blind parent needs to rely on their children, those children often miss out on an education. And if a blind child needs to rely on their parents, those parents often can’t earn enough to feed themselves and their family.

Children and adults with visual impairments can be shunned by their family or community, leaving them with very little social interaction. Even the simplest journey can also be extremely dangerous, especially if they live near a lake or river.

Two medical staff in the operating theatre preparing for a cataract operation.

How we treat cataracts

Sight can be restored with a straightforward operation that takes as little as 20 minutes.

More about surgery

More people you’ve supported

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A day in the life: “It’s a blessing to have the power to change someone’s life”

Dr Hawa Naiga Magembe is studying ophthalmology in Uganda with the help of a scholarship provided by Sightsavers’ inclusive eye health programme.

Samson Lokele in Kenya.
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