The gift of sight

An estimated 36 million people are blind worldwide and 253 million more are visually impaired, but these numbers could triple by 2050 due to the world’s growing and ageing population.

Yet with sufficient investment, 75% of blindness and visual impairment could be cured or prevented. The main uncorrected causes are refractive errors, which affect at least 123 million people, and cataracts, which affect 65 million.

The world’s poorest countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are particularly badly hit. In Africa, almost half of pupils in schools for blind people merely need a pair of spectacles, according to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

An outdoor exhibition of photographs is on show in London as part of the Million Miracles appeal, which aims to restore the sight of a million people across Africa and Asia. Photographer Andrew McConnell documents the successes of a scheme in Pakistan

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