"I can see my name!" exclaimed Jun-Fa as he pointed at the name tag above his hospital bed.

Just days ago, 70-year-old Jun-Fa from Altay Prefecture in far north-west China suffered from severe cataract in his right eye. All he could see was dim light.

He stopped growing vegetables and his son didn’t allow him to ride his motorbike anymore - although he snuck in a ride now and then again. Jun-Fa accepted his diminishing sight and didn't seek medical help. He thought his condition was normal for elderly people.

His son insisted he get his eyes checked, and eventually Jun-Fa journeyed on his own by bus to The Altay People's Hospital.

There he met Dr Zhang Hong-wei, a Fred Hollows Foundation-trained surgeon who told him that he would face blindness for the rest of his life if they didn't operate. 

If we do not operate, it's 100 percent that he won't be able to see...
- Dr Zhang Hong-wei, a Chinese surgeon trained by The Foundation

But all it took was a quick operation to restore Jun-Fa's sight. "I am very touched to see again," he said. "I can ride my bike again but I won't – I will just be careful," he added, before giving two-thumbs up to thank Dr Pulat Abdiryim, who operated on him.

Jun-Fa can now clearly see the mountains and trees out his window. He even went for a walk just days after surgery to buy buns for himself. He can return to growing his vegetables, and possibly riding his motorbike around the village again.

It's a new lease on life for Jun-Fa, but unfortunately, his condition is  common in China, where 20 per cent of the world’s blind live and four out of five of them live with avoidable blindness.

Many others won't receive the help that Jun-Fa did - but step by step, we're getting closer to changing this.

Give your support to people in China who live with avoidable blindness and who suffer - when they don't have to. Help them with a secure, online donation today.

Read more about our work to end avoidable blindness in China.