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Kent doctor appeals for more eye transplant donors

A patient undergoing a cornea transplant Photo: ITV

A doctor from Kent, who donated her husband's eyes after his death, is helping to highlight the importance of cornea donations.

Dr Gill Fargher lost her husband Tris Lewis four years ago. He died suddenly after suffering a cardiac arrest after arriving at work at the Medway Maritime Hospital

She's now campaigning for more eye donors to come forward as new research revealed that eyes are the organs people in the UK are least likely to donate after they die.

Here's the full story from our reporter Tony Green:

Dr Fargher is a volunteer on the organ donation committee at the Medway Hospital.

She's helping to encourage others to make the decision she made back in 2015. Her decision led to two people receiving cornea transplants.

Dr Fargher volunteering at the Medway Hospital Credit: ITV

I wanted something positive to come from the dreadful situation that we were facing. To restore sight is such an enormous thing. It enables someone to regain independence.

– Dr Gill Fargher, volunteer, Medway Hospital Organ Donation Committee
Dr Fargher is campaigning for more cornea transplant donations Credit: ITV

A survey from the charity Fight for Sight revealed that forty-four percent of people said their eyes were the body part they would least like to donate. This means there is a current shortfall in this type of transplant.

44%
Least likely to their donate eyes
4%
Least likely to donate their heart or lungs
4000
Corneal transplants are carried out yearly

Eyes feel very personal to people unlike other organs. People are very squeamish about the process of donating their eyes. By donating their eyes people will be giving back the gift of sight.

– Dr Rubina Ahmed - Head of Research Fight for Sight

Next year a new law will come into force which means adults in England will be considered as potential organ donors unless they choose to opt out or are excluded.

But even with new legislation families will still be consulted before any donation is made.