Lucy Mathen

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Lucy Mathen
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Nationality British
Occupation Ophthalmologist

Lucy Mathen (born 1953) is an Indian-born British ophthalmologist and former journalist. Having initially worked for the BBC, she retrained as a doctor and launched Second Sight – a non-profit organisation aimed at curing cataract blindness in India.


Mathen began her career as a print journalist, working for the Surrey Mirror in the mid-1970s.[1] She became the British Broadcasting Corporation's first ever female British Asian to front a major national television programme in 1976 when she began working for John Craven's Newsround (the BBC's children's news series).[2] She was the programme's first dedicated reporter – others, such as the anchorman John Craven, also appeared in other presenting roles for the BBC.[3] She worked on Newsround from 1976 to 1980. During this period, Samira Ahmed, now a prominent British Asian broadcaster, found Mathen an inspiration.[2]

During the making of a documentary on women in Afghanistan in 1988, a conversation with a local doctor made her reconsider her journalistic role: "I suddenly felt like a bit of a fraud. That's when I vowed that if I were ever in a war zone again, I would be a medic and not a reporter". At the age of 36, she retrained as an ophthalmologist at St. George's Hospital Medical School.[4] After travelling to India in 1996, she saw the effects of cataracts in the poor rural north of the country and launched a non-profit organisation – Second Sight – in December 2000 to bring eye surgeons into the region.[5] In 2010 and 2011, 80,000 people have benefited from cataract surgery supported by Second Sight.[6] She has written a book about her experiences called A Runaway Goat: Curing Blindness in Forgotten India.[7]

Mathen and her boyfriend, Mark, have one son and one daughter. She enjoys playing football and has incorporated the encouragement of women's football in India as part of a programme discouraging child marriage.[8] She is also a keen runner and completed two London Marathons and a half-marathon, raising money for Second Sight in the process.[9]


  1. ^ Barnes, Simon (2003-04-18). Land where folly and courage run hand in hand. The Times. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  2. ^ a b Ahmed, Samira (2011-09-30) Newsround, racism and me. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-10-01
  3. ^ 30 years of Newsround. CBBC. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  4. ^ Kallury, Kruttika (2010-10-07). Eye catcher. India Today. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  5. ^ Organisation. Second Sight. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  6. ^ Achievements. Second Sight. Retrieved on 2012-03-13. 30,000 people regained their sight in 2010; 50,000 in 2011
  7. ^ Excess Baggage: Medics abroad and Bridges. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  8. ^ Carter, Sally (2011-04-01). Lucy Mathen: From journalism to ophthalmology. British Medical Journal. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  9. ^ Marathons. Second Sight.

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