Eye donation and restoration of sight through corneal transplant is a very exciting combination of selfless charity and the miracle of medical technology. Cornea is the clear, transparent tissue covering the front of the eye and if it becomes cloudy from disease, injury, infection or malnutrition, vision is dramatically lost or reduced. Corneal blindness can be treated by replacing the damaged cornea by a healthy donated human cornea. The human cornea can be procured through eye donation. There are about 1.1 million corneally blind persons in the country. Another 25,000 are added each year. Eye donation in India today meets less than five percent of the demand for corneal transplants. Though there are 171 eye banks in the country, only 51 are working in true sense. An eye bank is an organization which deals with the collection, storage and distribution of donor eyes for purpose of corneal grafting, research and supply of the eye tissues for other ophthalmic purposes. Removal of eyes takes only twenty minutes while the cornea transplant surgery can be performed in half an hour. Yet it must be remembered that eyes/corneas are human tissue and like other organs (kidneys, heart, and the like) needs sincere and sustained technical expertise and dedicated commitment to quality and systematic procedures to handle.
Facts about eye donation
Eyes should be donated within 6-8 hrs. of death. Anyone can be a donor, irrespective of age, sex, blood group or religion. One cornea is grafted to one person. Total removal time is about 15-20 minutes. Spectacle wearers, hypertensive and diabetics can also donate. There is no disfigurement of the donor’s face. Total procedure takes 15-20 minutes. Eyes can be donated even if the deceased had not formally pledged their eyes during their lifetime. The eye bank team will immediately reach the donor’s home to collect the eyes. This service is free. Eyes are never bought or sold. All religions endorse eye donation.
Myths about eye donation
Face/ Body will be disfigured. Will be born blind in next birth. Will not be able to see GOD.
Contraindications for corneal transplantation
Active viral Hepatitis Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or HIV Active viral encephalitis or encephalitis of unknown origin Creutzfeldt - Jakob Disease Rabies Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis Active septicemia (bacteremia, fungemia, viremia) Retinoblastoma Laser photo ablation surgery Leukemia and Lymphoma
Pledge to donate your eyes. Make it a family tradition Motivate and educate others about eye donation Motivate the next of kin of the deceased person to donate their eyes. Call 1919 (Toll Free Number) “Eyes are a precious gift to mankind. A wise man utilizes the gift while alive, and after death too …” Dr. Ramendra Bakshi Consultant Cornea Services Incharge Eye Bank Venu Eye Institute & Research Centre