Celebrating 50 years of saving sight

Posted on: Tuesday, 6th December, 2016

This year, CBM is celebrating 50 years since its first sight-saving cataract operation. In 1966 New Zealand physician Dr.Howard Harper carried out the first CBM supported cataract surgery at the Noor Eye Hospital in Kabul. Today, CBM is carrying out more than 1,250 sight-saving cataract operations every single day across some of the world's poorest communities. 

“2016 marks a milestone for CBM - marking half a century of restoring sight through cataract surgery. Thanks to our generous supporters in the UK and around the world, we’ve carried out more than 13 million cataract surgeries over the past 50 years. This is a huge shared effort to help tackle avoidable blindness in the world’s poorest communities and we cannot thank our supporters and partners enough for their continued commitment over the years. Our commitment however goes well beyond surgeries and doesn’t end here. We will continue to strengthen eye health systems, through building local skills and public health capacity at every level so we can continue to tackle the many millions of cases of avoidable blindness across the world’s poorest communities. ” said Kirsty Smith, Chief Executive for CBM UK

Over the past 50 years, we made a major contribution to eye health across the world.  From 2013 to 2015 alone we provided more than 2.3 million eye operations and trained more than 3,500 eye health workers, including local doctors, nurses and health care workers, to diagnose and treat eye problems in their communities. 

Dr Andy Pyott, a former Ophthalmologist for CBM in Indonesia said, “So many millions of people are blind simply because they live in poverty. The impact of restoring sight goes beyond treating blindness. It means people immediately have a better quality of life and opportunities open up. They can go to school or earn a living. Performing cataract surgery is one of the most satisfying operations that an ophthalmologist can perform. I have watched patients being led into operating theatres, but able to walk out unaided because they can see again. It’s thanks to CBM supporters across the world that have enabled CBM to continue its work tackling blindness across the world’s poorest communities for the past 50 years.”

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