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Give the Gift of Sight this Christmas

MEDIA RELEASE Monday 8 December 2003

Give the Gift of Sight this Christmas

For a really special gift this Christmas, The Fred Hollows Foundation is encouraging people to give family and friends the ‘gift of sight’ - a truly unique gift which will not only brighten up their world but also help to restore the vision and independence of a person living with unnecessary blindness.

‘With a gift donation of just $25 or more The Foundation, on behalf of people throughout New Zealand, will be able to help the needlessly blind in the Pacific, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa’ said The Foundation’s Fundraising Manager, Kathleen Nash.

In recognition of your gift donation, The Fred Hollows Foundation will send the person you nominate a beautifully presented card acknowledging the ‘gift of sight’ made in their name.

The donation can be for any amount, but it costs $25 for a sight-restoring operation in developing countries, so for just $25 you will light up someone’s world.

Modern surgery on one eye will enable a mother to see her children again, a grandfather to see his home, and a father to work in the fields to earn money for his family.

Over one million people have regained their sight since The Fred Hollows Foundation was set up nearly 10 years ago. During that time, The Foundation has worked in more than 29 countries to prevent blindness by training local eye doctors in developing countries to perform modern cataract surgery; by supporting eye care nurses and doctors; and by manufacturing the lenses used to replace the damaged natural lens of the eye.

To show your family and friends you care, send them a ‘gift of sight’ card. This gift is fully tax deductible (in New Zealand) to the person who makes the donation.

For more information contact The Fred Hollows Foundation on (09) 623 7560 (Auckland), 0800 227 229 (rest of New Zealand) or email .


PHOTO (has been sent to your photo desk, if you have not received it please visit an take it off the website)

Dr Mau Imo, Samoa’s only eye doctor, reassures patient Lasela Polevia, that her operation has been a success and she will have normal vision again. There are 20 million people in the world who are blind from cataracts, who could be cured with this 20 minute operation, but most cannot access or afford surgery.


- Every five seconds one person in our world goes blind…and a child goes blind every minute; 80% is avoidable (treatable - 60% and preventable - 20%).

- There are 45 million blind people in the world; 90% living in developing countries.

- It is estimated that without comprehensive blindness prevention programs in place, blindness prevalence rates worldwide will increase to over 75 million by the year 2020.

- Treatable cataract blindness is the main cause of global blindness; affecting over 20 million people globally.

- Today, modern cataract surgery is recognised as one of the most cost effective health interventions in the world.

- The Fred Hollows Foundation was launched in September 1992 to continue the sight restoring work of its founder, Professor Fred Hollows.

- The Foundation works towards a world where no one is needlessly blind, striving to provide access to quality eye care to the poorest of the poor living in developing countries.

- The Foundation focuses on cataract blindness and over one million people have had their sight restored as a result of The Foundation’s work with local partners.

- Following Fred Hollows’ commitment, The Foundation has championed the use of modern cataract surgery in developing countries. Prior to this it was thought to be too complicated and risky outside westernised medical conditions.

- The Foundation’s comprehensive development programs focus on providing high quality eye care, training programs, community education and the provision of low cost, high quality equipment (such as surgical microscopes, lasers and intraocular lenses) used in modern cataract surgery.

- Modern cataract surgery costs as little as $25 in some developing countries.

- Eye care and integrated health programs have been established with in-country partners in over 29 countries. Active programs are operating in: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Fiji, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.


The Fred Hollows Foundation:

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