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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley: live on Breakfast, just after 9am
In her role as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, she's unashamedly loud, self obsessed and utterly ruthless.

Perhaps that's why the nation has taken Joanna Lumley to its heart.

This morning on Breakfast we'll be talking to her about something much more serious: her work with a charity which treats blindness in the developing world.

Joanna Lumley has just returned from Bangladesh where she visited a project which treats cataracts in children.

She dropped into the Breakfast studio to tell us more. We'll bring you a recording of her interview later this morning.

Many Bangladeshi families are unaware that a simple operation can reverse cataracts and because of that around a quarter of the 40,000 blind children are losing their sight unnecessarily.

Joanna Lumley says that by supporting Sight Savers' work, 10,000 children could be prevented from going blind at an early age.

The charity's project will continue for the next three to five years.

Sight Savers operates in 32 of the world's poorest countries where it works to improve life and restore sight for many people.

Lumley, who was born in Kashmir said: "I can't imagine a more moving or humbling experience than witnessing a child being able to see for the first time in their lives."

She added that every 60 seconds another child goes blind but half of those cases could be prevented or cured.

The tragedy for many children who are blind is that unless treatment is carried out by the age of seven, it's often too late for an operation.

Having seen some of the children for herself who have had the operation, Lumley notes that a 20 minute operation can cost as little at 30.

Sight Savers searches Bangladeshi villages looking for children who could benefit from treatment.

It then provides transport to the hospital, pays for the operation and provides the care needed after.

But as well as providing the treatment the charity hopes to leave in place a system that will ensure new cases are dealt with effectively.

Breakfast's interview with Joanna Lumley
"This doesn't just give children sight: it gives them a life"

BBC Breakfast


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