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Eye donations come down during pandemic

It is of immense concern that almost half of the world’s blind population resides in India.

Published: 03rd September 2020 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2020 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

express Illustration

express Illustration

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  It is of immense concern that almost half of the world’s blind population resides in India. The number of people with corneal blindness in India is projected to increase to 10.6 million by 2020. As many as three million of these people with profound vision impairment can benefit from corneal transplantation, which is the replacement of the cornea surgically.

To clear this immense backlog of patients, and to efficiently tackle the patients who are added to this group, 150,000 corneal transplants must be performed every year in India alone. To raise awareness about the issue, Eye Donation Week is observed from August 25 to September 7.
 
Eye banks in Hyderabad
Ramayamma International Eye Bank, LVP Eye Institute Chiranjeevi Eye and Blood Bank Eye Bank, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital Madhav Netra Nidhi, Pushpagiri Vitroretina Institute  Eye Bank Association of India

Is there a cure for corneal blindness?
Corneal blindness can be treated by removing damaged cornea and replacing with healthy cornea, either completely or partially, which is received through donation after death.

How do I pledge my eyes?
To pledge your eyes, you need to fill a form which is available in all major hospitals and eye hospitals/banks. You can access this form online also: http://ebai.org/donator-registration/
This link will take you to Eye Bank Association of India (EBAI) and will also provide all the information you need to know. It is very important that you communicate your decision to your family. In the event of your death, it is the duty of family members to inform the eye bank within six hours of death.

How does one contact the Eye Bank?
The toll-free phone number in India to contact eye banks 1919. 

Who can donate eyes?
Any person of any age or sex can donate eyes. Eye banks usually accept donations from donors between the age of two to 70 years. Even if the deceased had a history of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, tuberculosis etc. or wore glasses, or had undergone cataract surgery, eyes can be donated. 

Who cannot donate eyes?
A person with rabies, tetanus, AIDS, jaundice, cancer, gangrene, septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis, acute leukemia, cholera, food poisoning or death due to drowning cannot donate their eyes.

Covid pandemic and eye donation
There are many challenges in eye donation activities. Number of donations has drastically come down and affected corneal transplant surgeries. Looking at the magnitude of corneal blindness in our country, we all should come forward to donate our eyes. We should not believe or encourage any superstitions, myths and wrong beliefs. There is a lot of research going on to develop artificial corneas, but until this becomes a reality, eye donation is the only way to gift the blind the gift of vision.

– Dr Alpa Atul Poorabia, consultant ophthalmologist, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Kondapur



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