Sightsavers Reports

Muslima’s story: in pictures

July 2017
Muslima holds up a balloon to the camera and smiles broadly.

Muslima lives in Bangladesh, and was born with cataracts. Her vision was deteriorating and had already begun to affect every part of her life.

Her bubbly and energetic personality was at risk, and she was in danger of going blind until Sightsavers stepped in to help. Scroll through the photos to read her story and see how her future was transformed thanks to supporters like you.

A close up of Muslima's face.
Muslima sits alone in the dark.

“The sunlight hurts my eyes”

Muslima sits alone in the dark.

Muslima is a typical eight-year-old girl who loves to play outside with her friends. But her cataracts made her eyes sensitive to bright light, and she was often forced to stay inside away from the sun.

Muslima is very intelligent, but as her sight deteriorated she struggled to read and had started falling behind at school. It took her much longer than her classmates to complete her work, and without help she may have had to drop out of school altogether.

The only way she was able to read was by holding the book up very close to her face, and even then she struggled to see small print.

Muslima struggles to read a book.
Muslima has her eyes screened.

Diagnosed with cataracts

Muslima has her eyes screened.

Her teacher realised she was having problems and encouraged her parents to visit Dr Mazmun Nahar, a Bangladeshi doctor who was trained in childhood blindness by Sightsavers. Dr Nahar diagnosed Muslima with cataracts and referred her to Khulna hospital in Bangladesh for surgery.

After a long and bumpy journey, Muslima arrived at the hospital. She was very nervous about her operation, but cataract surgery is a relatively straightforward operation that only takes about 60 minutes. It involves removing the eye’s clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial one.

Sightsavers performs more than 250,000 cataract surgeries every year in some of the world’s poorest countries, helping to restore sight for thousands of people.

Muslima is about to go into surgery.
Muslima has her bandages removed.

After the operation

Muslima has her bandages removed.

The operation went well, but an uncomfortable night in the hospital ward took its toll on Muslima. She was distant and quiet as her bandages were removed, and her father watched nervously to see if her sight was better.

Muslima was able to return home the next day. As she left the hospital, she slowly started to become more aware of her surroundings as her vision cleared.

She enjoyed gazing out the window watching the world go by, and munching on the snacks she was given. She seemed a completely different person to the scared little girl who travelled to the hospital two days before.

Muslima travels home in a car.
Muslima's father holds her up and points at coconut trees.

“I can see the trees!”

Muslima's father holds her up and points at coconut trees.

As Muslima arrived home, she was greeted excitedly by her family. Keen to check his daughter’s sight, her father picked her up and pointed at some coconuts high in the trees. To the delight of her family, she said she could see them. This showed her sight is now near perfect.

Her mother and little sister were thrilled to have her home, and Muslima wasted no time in showing them her new-found writing and drawing skills. She drew colourful pictures as her sister looked on.

She could now finally see the paper, could identify colours and words quickly, and she was clearly enjoying playing and communicating with her family.

Muslima reads with ease.
Muslima holds up a balloon to the camera and smiles broadly.

A life transformed

Muslima holds up a balloon to the camera and smiles broadly.

Thanks to the support of our donors and partners, Muslima’s life was transformed by a miracle operation. She is now free to play with her friends, continue her education and look forward to a life free from blindness.

You can help more children like Muslima


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