In India there about 10 million people who are blind (NPCB-WHO).
Out of this 80% of the blindness is preventable or curable. There are 2.5 million corneal blinds that require corneal grafting. Some of them are in their 1st or 2nd decade of life. These visions can be improved by corneal transplantation. In this operation the damaged opaque cornea is replaced by a healthy one, taken from the eye of a recently deceased person.
There is a severe lack of availability of donor eyes in India. 8-9 million deaths occur in India every year and only only 6-7 thousand corneal grafting operations are done every year. But unfortunately about fifteen to twenty thousand new victims of corneal blindness are added each year to the already waiting 1 million corneal blinds. There are enough qualified eye surgeons but the corneal grafting operations cannot be performed because of the donor eyes. This is where eye donation offers hope. One eye donation can give vision to 2 persons.
Eye Donation Fortnight: The late prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, celebrated his birthday in 1985 by pledging to donate his eyes in 1985 and declared that August 25th to September 8th be observed as “Eye Donation Fortnight” every year. This fortnight is celebrated every year since then, as it is one way to spread awareness about eye donation.
Eye Bank :
Is a Community non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to restoring sight to those who are blind or visually impaired through the promotion and advancement of Eye donation
It deals with the collection, storage and distribution of donor eyes for the purpose of corneal grafting.
Eye bank is the link between the donor family and a cornea recipient
Cornea is the bright transparent bulging watch glass like cover over the iris lens diaphragm. In corneal grafting diseased and opaque cornea is replaced by a healthy transparent cornea taken out from a donor eye.
Causes of Corneal blindness: In diseases like Trachoma, corneal ulcers due to herpes, fungus & bacteria and in many other diseases like aphakic & pseudophakic bullous keratopathy the cornea becomes hazy and opaque thus causing partial or total loss of sight.
Generally following questions are there in mind of general public…..
How soon must eyes be removed after Death?
Eyes should removed as soon as possible, preferably within 6 to 8 hours of death
How does the Eye Bank collect donated eyes?
The Eye Bank is informed by the next of kin or the family physician immediately after the death of the donor (day or night by telephone). The Eye Bank then takes care of all arrangements without delay.
How long can the eyes be preserved?
Eyes are used within 49-72 hours. However, by special preservation methods, they can be stored up to 2 weeks
How are these eyes used?
The eyes thus obtained are properly examined and preserved aseptically in the Eye Bank.
Is prior examination of donor eyes essential?
No, all donated eyes are utilized by the Eye Bank either for sight restoration (if suitable) or for research to cure blindness.
Does removal of eyes delay funeral & cause disfigurement of the body?
No, It Does not delay funeral arrangements.
Removal of the eyes is done carefully and skillfully without causing any disfigurement of the face.
Who can donate his eyes?
Anyone can be an Eye Donor.
Weak eyesight has no effect on donor cornea and subsequent corneal grafting operation.
Even operated eye with healthy cornea can be used for grafting.
Eye can be donated irrespective of whether the deceased had pledged his/her eyes or not
What precautions are to be taken before doctor comes?
Do Switch off the fans
Do keep air conditioners / cooler running
Do place wet cotton with ice over the closed eyelids
Can the whole eyeball be grafted?
No. It has not yet been successful. Further research in this field is in progress
Collection of eyes :
When the “donor call” comes; be sure to get as much data as possible from the caller, such as donor’s name, age ,diagnosis, time of death and the caller’s knowledge about possible cause of death in the Donor Call-Initial Information. Qualified Doctors with one assistant and driver will reach site at the earliest possible for enucleation procedure
The recipient of cornea will always remain anonymous but donor family should knowing that the eyes have been used to restore vision of two blind persons.
Eye Donation Taboos
- Lack of awareness
- Fear of disfigurement
- Apathy / Forgetfulness
- Lack of favorable legislationsReligion is to give. All religions preach service to mankind even after death. You can serve your religion through the eye bank
Immortality is forever, and forever is never over! Donate eyes & be forever.
Don’t burn or bury your eyes.
One Eye Donation means SIGHT to two needy person. Donate eyes. Be Human & Compassionate.