YouTube star MrBeast helps 1,000 blind people see again by sponsoring cataract surgery


YouTube superstar MrBeast is making the world clearer — at least 1,000 people.

The content creator’s latest stunt is paying for cataract removal for 1,000 people who are blind or nearly blind but can’t afford surgery.

“We are curing the blindness of a thousand people,” MrBeast – real name Jimmy Donaldson – said in a video Saturday that had more than 32 million views as of Sunday afternoon.

The video showcases touching before and after footage of the patient’s clear vision after completing the procedure. The YouTuber also gave cash donations and other gifts to some of the participants.

Ophthalmologist and surgeon Jeff Levenson worked with Donaldson on the first round of surgery in Jacksonville, Florida. For more than 20 years, Levenson has coordinated the Gift of Sight program, which provides free cataract surgery to uninsured patients who are legally blind due to cataracts.

“Half of all the blind people in the world are people who need 10-minute surgery,” Levinson said in the video, referring to cataract removal surgery.

Levenson explained to CNN that after undergoing corrective cataract surgery of his own, he was inspired to help people with cataract surgery.

“In the days and weeks following my own cataract surgery, I was struck by how bright, beautiful and vivid the world was,” he said. “But I’m shocked that there are hundreds of millions, maybe 200 million people around the world who are blind or nearly blind from cataracts and cannot undergo surgery.”

In September, Levenson got a call from a member of Donaldson’s team. “I’ve never heard of Mr. Beast,” he said. “So I almost hung up. But thank goodness I didn’t.”

They started by calling homeless shelters and free clinics with a list of patients in the Jacksonville area who needed cataract surgery but couldn’t afford it.In the end, they had a group of 40 patients – and Levenson did all of their procedures in one day, starting at 7am and ending at 6pm

Patients, Levenson said, “didn’t believe that someone was going to actually find them, save them from blindness, and then provide surgery in a spirit of kindness and generosity.”

The ophthalmologist also connected Donaldson’s team with SEE International, where he serves as chief medical officer. The nonprofit organization provides free eye care to patients in need around the world. The organization helped Donaldson reach more patients, performing 1,000 procedures in about three weeks. Videos show patients undergoing surgery in Jamaica, Honduras, Namibia, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam and Kenya.

Levinson said he hopes the video and Donaldson’s generosity will inspire a “joint effort to end needless blindness.”

“If MrBeast can light a fire, if we can get government and private support, we can eliminate half of the world’s blindness,” he said. “There’s not that much cost, and there’s an incredible gain in human productivity and human potential.”

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