Gyles Brandreth will present a BBC Radio 4 appeal in February to raise funds for Christian international disability charity CBM UK.

The writer, broadcaster and former MP is a long-time supporter of the charity and will be appealing for funds to prevent avoidable blindness in the world’s poorest places.

He says: “I’m a supporter of the charity CBM, Christian Blind Mission – it’s a cause I’ve been proud to support, with my wife, for more than 20 years. We support CBM because we think it’s shocking that people still become blind because of conditions that could be easily treated, or struggle to see because they can’t get a pair of glasses.

“Too often, for people in the world’s poorest places, losing your sight also means losing the chance to go to school, earn a living or live independently. And yet cataracts can be treated with a straightforward operation. But for too many people living in poverty, treatment is out of reach.

“CBM is helping to change that, working alongside local hospitals and health workers to improve access to sight-saving services, like cataract surgery. It’s amazing work.”

Some 75% of the world’s blindness is avoidable, caused by conditions that could be easily treated or prevented. But lack of access to sight-saving eye health services means that every day, people needlessly lose their sight, especially in poorer parts of the world.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 1 billion people worldwide live with visual impairment that could be prevented or treated. Too often, if you live in a poor community, going blind means losing your chance to go to school, earn a living or live independently.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. They can be treated with an operation that can cost as little for £24 for an adult or £95 for a child, as they need general anaesthetic.

Funds raised by the BBC Radio 4 appeal will help CBM improve access to sight-restoring surgery and other eye health services for people in the world’s poorest communities.