HYDERABAD: The Covid-19 has hit eye donations hard. Nearly 30,000 people used to donate corneal tissue every year and the number of Corneal Tissue stood at 60,000 last year. Shockingly the number has come down now to just 10%, ie. about 6,000 corneal tissues informs Dr. Santosh Kumar Kraleti, All India Joint Secretary of SAKSHAM and Country Director of CAMBA.
SAKSHAM is a charitable national organization with a major presence in Hyderabad. CAMBA is a project of SAKSHAM.
It has recently organised a Nationwide movement, “National Eye Donation Pledge Contest” which achieved a record number of 3.08 lakh eye pledges from across India in just 14 days. Both Telugu states put together mobilised 34,000 plus corneas pledged during this competition. Lucknow stood first in India in mobilising 35, 717 eye pledges, Jabalpur trict stood second with 30,641 eyes pledged. The campaign covered 678 Districts out of 739 districts in the country. 49 districts pledge 1000 and above and 7 districts pledged 10,000 eyes and more.
“Cornea Andhatv Mukt Bharat Abhiyan (CAMBA)” is a pan India movement of Saksham, to bring down the incidence of corneal blindness in India and to motivate millions of Indians to pledge their eyes for this noble cause. And we hope that this initiative will spark and motivate more people to come forward and donate corneas tissues. We need two lakh corneas every year on an assumption that 50% of them are not fit for transplantation. We have more than 400 eye banks in India. Still, we collect 60,000 corneas annually and 50% of them are not fit for corneal transplantation. Eye Banks have to be more efficient. Sri Lanka exports Corneas to 27 countries. Their PM and their Buddhist religious gurus promote eye donation. In 2018, Sri Lanka has exported 48,000 corneas to 27 countries. One in five Sri Lankans have pledged to donate their corneas,” says Dr. Prashanth Garg from LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad.
Though India has more than 6,00 eye banks, the eye donations (corneal tissues) is dismally low. The USA has just 57 eye banks. In 2018. U.S. eye banks reported 133,576 total tissue recoveries from 68,102 donors in 2018. Their eye banks are far more effective than ours.