Fiona Dean takes a break from surgery, wearing blue scrubs

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My name is Miss Fiona Dean – I’m a Paediatric Ophthalmologist here in the UK. I also volunteer with Orbis, the eye charity whose donor-funded work has given so many people the gift of sight in some of the world’s poorest countries. Let me tell you about why the work of this charity is so important...

I just recently spent a week in Cameroon with Orbis and the amazing Flying Eye Hospital. This trip really showed me the transformative impact of donor support on the lives of people living with blindness.  

Cameroon has the fifth highest prevalence of blindness in the world, with an estimated 150,000 blind people. What really gets me is the fact that so much of this is avoidable.  

Due to very limited medical infrastructure, thousands of people in Cameroon right now are resigned to spending their whole lives in darkness, even though they are living with eye conditions that we in the UK know to be treatable. To me, that is a tragedy.  

Cataracts are a perfect example. They account for 50% of Cameroon’s cases of blindness; many of them are in children. Why should someone be consigned to a life without sight when their cataract could be removed in under an hour?

With Operation Sight, Orbis want to perform one million optical, medical and surgical treatments by the end of 2018, as well as providing over 100,000 training sessions for medical staff, supporting 30 hospitals and spreading awareness about how to prevent blindness.

When I was in Cameroon I was helping to train local medical personnel, eye specialists who wanted to fight the scourge of blindness that is sweeping their country.  

I met some seriously inspiring people in Cameroon: people like Dr Ted, the country’s first Paediatric Ophthalmologist, who is eager to restore children’s vision and give them far brighter futures. He is such a dedicated and caring man – I was glad to be able to share my knowledge with him, knowing how many young patients would benefit from his skill in the years ahead.  

Patients like little Saliou, the four-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with a severe cataract and whose future prospects were looking dim. Instead, thanks to Orbis supporters, his cataract was removed on board the Flying Eye Hospital and now he is in school and looking ahead to a bright future!

Orbis’s work in Cameroon is just one part of Operation Sight, a global initiative with truly ambitious goals. 

Dr Ted, the country’s first Paediatric Ophthalmologist, who is eager to restore children’s vision and give them far brighter futures

Your support is essential in helping change this many lives. I hope you will be able to make a donation to Orbis today, so that the unique and cutting-edge Flying Eye Hospital can visit more countries and restore more sight before the year’s end. Operation Sight needs you.  

This charity inspires me so much – Orbis is incredibly effective and smart in how they make the most of every penny they receive in support. I really hope you’ll be able to support them with a donation today and give the gift of sight to more people in need.  

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