TV presenter gets behind Christian charity's sight restoring work

Writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth has supported CBM for the last 20 years.

TV presenter Gyles Brandreth is asking the public to support the work of CBM, a Christian charity transforming the lives of people living with blindness and other disabilities.

A practising Christian, Brandreth, who is a regular on the BBC's The One Show, has 'passionately' supported CBM's work for over 20 years with his wife.

"We believe that no one should face a lifetime of blindness just because their family is poor," he said.

He continued: "People are living needlessly blind with cataracts, when simple surgery could restore their sight - if only their families could afford it. Supporting CBM means that more people can have their sight restored and live a life full of opportunity."

The organisation restores sight to people living in the poorest places in the world by tackling eye diseases, training doctors and health care workers and carrying out eye surgeries.

Supporters of the charity have donated £1.2 million to the Light Up Lives campaign, which is running across three years to change the lives of blind people in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe, a nation with one of the highest rates of blindness in the world.

Patricia, 15, from Midlands had pain in her eye for half a year as a result of a cataract. She had doubts that her eye would heal until the charity intervened.

Brian, 21, feels like he has his life back after successful cataract treatment at an eye camp.(Photo: CBM)

"The project really helped me because I was slowly turning blind. Everything is now back to normal. The pains are all gone now. I am back at school. School is great. I am enjoying it," she said.

Brian, 21, also suffered from a cataract that grew in his eye as a result of an injury. After successful treatment, he believes that "God still has more" for him and "nothing is impossible". "I just hope that maybe I can start work and get employed in some better places," he said.

His experience with a cataract has even deepened his faith.

He continued: "I am in the Bible so much. I like the story of Moses when he took the Israelites out of Egypt. That was really my story concerning my cataract – I still believed that one day God would lead me into freedom."

Zimbabwe has a shortage of trained eye health workers so CBM is using funds to offer training. Over one thousand eye health workers have been trained and are now working to identify adults with eye health problems, and refer them for treatment.

Funds are also being invested to improve hospital infrastructures across district hospitals in the Midlands Province. Thousands of cataract surgeries have been delivered in hospitals as well as outreach camps that reduce the distances patients living in rural areas need to travel, helping them access treatment before they lose their sight.

By the end of the project CBM aims to have helped more than 44,000 people with eye health problems.