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A 17-year–old CBeebies star has thanked a cornea transplant for allowing her to see light again.

Talk about organ donation: Angharad Rhodes

Angharad was diagnosed with a rare condition called Oculofaciocardiodental syndrome (OFCD) which affected her eyes, facial features, heart and teeth. 

Lynda Rhodes, Angharad’s mum, said:

“The doctors decided that in order for Angharad to be able to keep her light perception, they would need to insert a mechanical valve in her eye to lower the pressure. This operation would mean that a cornea donation was needed.

“After numerous discussions, Angharad understood that organ donation involved someone passing away in order to help her and decided to go ahead with the operation.” 

In April 2016, Angharad and her mum Lynda were told there was a donor available and the procedure would take place in two weeks.

A successful operation

Following the operation, Angharad’s eyes were swollen and remained closed, therefore it was unclear whether the operation had been successful. 

Lynda said:

“We held our breaths the week after Angharad’s operation. There was a sense of the unknown and we just had to wait and see if the donation had worked. 

“After a couple of days, Angharad took a light sensitivity test and discovered that the operation had been a success. We were absolutely over the moon.” 

Life after the operation

Angharad now hopes to inspire others who may suffer with a loss of sight.

Lynda said:

“As a family we are so thankful that someone chose to donate their corneas. Without them, Angharad’s world would have been plunged into darkness. 

“There is such stigma around eyes in general. Many people are very squeamish when talking about eyes. With that, the topic of cornea donation makes  people uncomfortable, however we need to get past this. It’s such a shame that this is putting people off donating.

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