In the developing world, many people suffer from curable blindness. Yet poverty and misinformation prevent them from seeking medical aid.

When Sikander heard about the availability of cataract surgery near his village, his friends tried to dissuade him. But Sikander was very nearly blind, and his impaired vision had forced him to give up working. With the responsibility of providing for his family weighing heavily on his shoulders, Sikander found he was too desperate to heed to local superstitions.

Sikander and his family live in a small village just outside Sylhet. They get by on limited means, working hard to make ends meet. Sikander has five daughters and a wife to care for. At age 70, the responsibility of providing for his family still rests on his shoulders. So when losing his eye-sight meant losing his livelihood, Sikander chose to take a risk.

At Al Mustafa Welfare Trust’s (AMWT) eye-care camp in Sylhet, Sikander received a free screening and medical advice, followed by cataract surgery. He’d previously neglected his health and eyesight because he simply couldn’t afford to visit a hospital or an optometrist. So being able to receive a sight-restoring eye operation free of charge, sounded too good to be true. It was no wonder people in his local community had been wary of the process.

Today Sikender can see again, and doesn’t regret his decision. In fact, he says it’s the best one he ever made.

Every year, AMWT runs countless mobile eye-care clinics across eight of the world’s poorest countries. Each of our mobile clinics has a 160 bed capacity, and offers cataract and glaucoma surgery, as well as treatment for low vision and diabetic retinopathy. We also have spectacle labs, so when a patient is prescribed glasses they are able to receive them within hours of their consultation. This saves them a costly and time-consuming journey back to the hospital later.

To date, AMWT has restored eye-sight to over 30,000 people across two continents. In most of the cases we encounter, blindness is avoidable, and eyesight is easy to correct. A simple operation, or corrective spectacles come at a small fee. But they mean a great deal to someone who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

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