Dr Danny Haddad’s Miracle memory

Stories | July 15, 2022

Witnessing his first Miracle of sight-saving cataract surgery is something that will forever remain with Dr Danny Haddad.

“He was an older gentleman [and] he mentioned he had been blind for seven years. I was there watching the cataract surgery being done on him. The next day, they were taking the bandages off, and I remember his face when he saw his daughter and his grandson. He had never seen his grandson before because he was only six years old,” says Danny, Director of Inclusive Eye Health at CBM Global Disability Inclusion. 

“It was a miracle to have someone who had been blind for so long suddenly see his grandchild for the first time in his life.”

This year’s Miracles Day, on Thursday 18 August, aims to support 52,000 people in some of the poorest parts of the world to access sight-saving cataract surgery.

The generosity of the Australian public can help CBM to reach this goal – which would bring the total number of Miracles given since Miracles Day began 10 years ago to more than 300,000.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens and the leading cause of blindness worldwide. A 12-minute surgical intervention can replace the clouded lens with a durable artificial lens and restore someone’s sight, but many people cannot access or afford effective healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, with eye screening camps which are critical in diagnosing cataracts in children and adults, postponed or cancelled due to restrictions on gatherings.

Danny, who worked as a medical doctor in the Netherlands before joining CBM, says that many people living with cataracts in developing and disadvantaged countries are unaware the problem is treatable.

“One of the challenges we have in most places we work is that there is not an awareness that blindness due to cataracts can be cured. Yet, we can reverse that blindness [and] make you see again with an operation that takes 12 minutes. It’s truly a miracle,” he explains.

The vast majority of people living with cataracts are in low-income countries.

“Vision impairment and blindness feed into the vicious cycle of poverty and really keep communities in poverty. We still have millions of people who are blind because of cataracts that could see again with a 12-minute surgery,” says Danny.

“In most of the world still, cataract surgery can make a difference between seeing or being blind. And that has an incredible impact on their whole quality of life.”

A Miracle costs just $33 – that’s about the cost of two movie tickets. Danny says that this comparatively small amount of money can transform somebody’s life – and also benefit their family and community – for good.

“It’s a miracle to have Miracles Day to make sure we are able to raise the funds to do these cataract surgeries. For only $33, we can do a cataract surgery – so for $33, you can make a blind person see again.” 

This Miracles Day, Thursday, August 18, can you give the Miracle of sight to change a life? Just $33 will provide sight-saving surgery to someone living in poverty. Give a Miracle today.

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