Broadcaster Diane Louise Jordan, well known for presenting iconic TV shows Blue Peter and Songs of Praise and recent participant in Channel 4’s Stand up to Cancer Sink or Swim series, will visit Rwanda. Cambridge Network

Diane Louise Jordan visit this month is to witness the life-changing impact of projects to prevent blindness. The visit is organised by international disability charity CBM, of which Diane is a passionate supporter. She will be accompanied by her 12 year-old grandson, Preston.

Diane has close personal experience of the impact of sight problems. As a young man, her father lost the sight in one eye due to an accident at work; in later life, both her parents developed the eye disease glaucoma, leaving her father almost completely blind. This experience has made her passionate about improving awareness of and access to treatment for eye conditions in the UK and around the world. Diane herself has regular eye checks, as her family history puts her at higher risk of glaucoma, one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide.

In Rwanda, Diane will witness the huge impact that sight problems have on people living in poverty and how support from the UK public is helping make eye health services available to some of the poorest people in the East African country. Visiting a CBM-supported eye hospital Kabgayi Eye Unit, Diane will also see the life-changing difference that treatment can make on the lives of individuals and their families. She and her grandson will meet children before and after sight-restoring cataract surgery, both at home and at hospital; visit adults living with glaucoma, and hear from doctors and nurses on the front-line of preventing blindness.

Diane is keen to raise awareness of the impact of avoidable blindness and the need for everyone to access eye health services, wherever they live in the world.  In her own words:

« After seeing the deep impact glaucoma had on my parents’ lives, I know how vital it is that people can access eye tests and treatment– it’s so easy to take your eyesight for granted until you start to lose it. That’s something that I’m really keen for my grandchildren to understand too, which is why I’ll be taking Preston with me on this trip. As a mother & Grandmother I can’t imagine what it’s like to see your child lose their sight. Watching them struggle, knowing that treatment is available – but out of reach. Because of the impact eye disease had on our family, I’m passionate about raising awareness about the need for everyone to have access to eye screenings and treatments, and helping to raise funds to help CBM ensure that nobody around the world goes needlessly blind ».

Every day people in the world’s poorest places become needlessly blind because of conditions that can easily be treated. A 2019 World Health Organisation report found that more than 1 billion people worldwide are living with vision impairment  because they do not get the care they need for conditions like short and far sightedness, glaucoma and cataract. For those living in poverty losing sight can also mean losing the chance to go to school, to live independently & to earn a living.