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Penelope Wilton adds her voice to end avoidable blindness – World Sight Day

Posted on: Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

To mark World Sight Day (11th October), we are launching a new film featuring actress Dame Penelope Wilton, highlighting CBM’s work to prevent avoidable blindness in the world’s poorest places.

Watch the film here:

CBM UK – Ending Avoidable Blindness transcript (open link in new tab)

Penelope Wilton, who is well known for her film, theatre and TV roles, including BFG, Downton Abbey, Calendar Girls and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, has been a CBM supporter for several years. In 2016, the actress presented a BBC Radio 4 Appeal in support of CBM and explained why she chose to support our work:

Dame Penelope Wilton headshot“I am shocked to learn that people in developing countries are going blind because of conditions like cataracts. Cataracts cause half of all blindness. They can be treated with straightforward surgery – and yet for thousands of men, women and children in Africa, this simple operation is out of reach.

If you’re living in poverty in a developing country, it must be truly terrifying to lose your sight. In the places where CBM works, it nearly always means losing the chance to go to school, or to earn a living as an adult. It’s not just the physical barriers, though these can be huge – people with disabilities often face discrimination and stigma, leaving them isolated and ignored.

I’m still as committed as ever to helping CBM train doctors, equip hospitals and fund operations, so we can build a world where no-one is needlessly blind.”

Celebrating World Sight Day 2018 – #EyeCareEverywhere

World Sight Day is an annual event, held every year in October, to raise awareness of avoidable blindness globally. The theme for this year is #EyeCareEverywhere.

Across the world 253 million people are blind or visually impaired and shockingly 75% could have been treated or prevented. Impairments such as cataracts, can be restored by simple surgery and yet for millions of people in the world’s poorest places, this operation is out of reach.

Tackling avoidable blindness around the world

Together, with our dedicated supporters and local partners, we continue to play a significant role in efforts to decrease worldwide blindness across some of the world’s poorest communities. Thanks to supporters like you, last year, we:

  •  Protected 23 million people from blinding diseases such as trachoma or River Blindness
  •  Provided eye health services to 7.5 million people
  •  Carried out 413,468 sight-restoring cataract surgeries
  •  Distributed 520,104 glasses and low-vision devices

Take a look below to find out what else we’ve been doing to combat avoidable blindness.

A wooden boat with 4 people and lots of different supplies in it.CBM’s pioneering role in making Ghana trachoma free

This year, Ghana became the first African country to eliminate the leading infectious cause of blindness. CBM was involved in the very beginning of trachoma control in the West African country by supporting training, funding outreach programmes and contributing to research. 

Read more here about eliminating trachoma in Ghana (open link in new tab).

Doctors and nurses cut the ribbon.

New vision centres to provide sight-saving eye care in rural India

Four new Vision Centres will provide sight-saving eye health services to people in one of the poorest parts of India, thanks to support from L’Occitane Foundation, the foundation run by natural beauty products company L’Occitane.  The new Vision Centres will provide basic eye health services such as glasses, while also identifying potentially blinding conditions like cataracts and glaucoma so they can be treated before it’s too late.

Read more here about new vision centres in India (open link in new tab).