KADAPA: Making eye donation as their life mission, two persons — B Madhusudhan Reddy and M Raju — together gathered 666 pairs of eyes through donation in the last one decade, thus providing vision to hundreds of people.
The duo from Kadapa district, for the past one decade, went door-to-door creating awareness about eye donation and how it brings light in the lives of the visually-impaired. Madhusudhan Reddy, a 42-year-old social worker, who hails from Proddatur, was inspired by an article published in 2008. The article was about a man, who is motivating people to donate eyes.
After reading the article, Madhusudhan too wanted to motivate others to donate eyes. Immediately, he contacted several ophthalmologists and NGOs. The cornea needs to be retrieved from the eyes of the person, within 12 hours of death. As it became a Herculean task for the doctors to reach out in times of emergency to retrieve cornea from the donors, eye bank technicians are entrusted with the job.
On learning about it, Madhusudhan enrolled himself for the eye bank technician course in October 2008 from Hyderabad-based LV Prasad Eye Institute. After completing the course, through Sneha Seva Samithi, which he founded in April 2008, Madhusudhan started a campaign for eye donation. He went door-to-door creating awareness on donating eyes and clearing various apprehensions among the people.
His efforts paid off and in the first year, he successfully retrieved 17 pairs of eyes. Madhusudhan says the majority of people have the misconception that if one donates an eye, the entire eye would be removed from the body after death and the face would be disfigured. “This is not the case. Retrieving cornea from the eye is a very simple procedure involving no blood and will be completed in 15-20 minutes. Only the surface ocular tissue of the eye, which is known as cornea, is retrieved and preserved. There will not be any disfigurement,” he explained.
He has retrieved 490 pairs of eyes till date. After the death, relatives of those who pledged to donate eyes call Madhusudhan, who goes there and retrieves the cornea and preserves the same in MK Medium. Eye banks like LV Prasad, Vasan, Sarojini, Chiranjeevi and Agarwal will be informed and the preserved cornea is sent to them, as the same has to be transplanted to a visually impaired person within 90 hours.
M Raju, who was inspired by Madhusudhan, till 2019, has secured 176 pairs of eyes at seven mandals in Pulivendula. His efforts fetched him an award from South India Nethra Nidhi Association chairman MK Krishna in Bengaluru. Raju, through his Snehita Amrutha Hastham Seva Samithi, has been conducting awareness programmes. He is also actively involved in providing education to poor students.
Bringing colour & light to lives
Madhusudhan conducts ‘Eye Donation Awareness’ from August 25 to September 8 every year and in 2011, he took out a cycle yatra to create awareness among the people on the importance of eye donation. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, the same was not conducted