BENGALURU: In a first for Karnataka, Kannada star Puneeth Rajkumar's eyes were donated to four people on the same day. This was done using an advanced technique and the transplant was free in honour of the Rajkumar family, announced Dr Bhujang Shetty, chairman and managing director, Narayana Nethralaya.
"In the midst of such a great tragedy, Puneeth Rajkumar's family agreed to donate his eyes, following in the footsteps of his father Dr Rajkumar and mother Parvathamma whose eyes were donated in 2006 and 2017 respectively. We collected the eyes of Appu on Friday, the day he died, and the transplant was conducted the very next day," Dr Shetty said.
He explained that this technique has been used for the first time in the state to donate eyes to four people at one go. The cornea of each eye was sliced in half, with the front portion given to one beneficiary and the second portion to another. Getting the correct beneficiaries is always a challenge as they need to be eligible but this time, it all fell in place.
"If the eyes are in good condition, they can be donated to four people. All the beneficiaries are doing well. The white portion of his eyes was also collected and sent to a lab, so limbal cells can be grown and used for a patient suffering corneal burns or any other damage, especially with Deepavali around the corner," Dr. Shetty added.
The wait list of beneficiaries was ready and help was also taken from Minto Eye Hospital to get another suitable beneficiary. All of them were Karnataka-based youngsters and the transplant was performed by a team of five doctors.
"We wanted to specifically utilise his eyes to the maximum extent in recognition of his multi-faceted personality. The procedure began at half-past 11 in the morning and ended by 5.30 pm. It is a delicate surgery and it was done early so people get the benefit of it," shared Dr Yathish Shivanna, Medical Director, Dr Rajkumar Eye Bank.
Every eye and cornea they receive is precious and when they help someone gain sight, looking at the smile on their face is unforgettable, said Dr Sharon D'Souza, senior consultant, Cornea and Refractive, who added that the gesture by the Rajkumar family was amazing. In 1994, Dr. Rajkumar lent his name to open the Dr Rajkumar Eye Bank in Narayana Nethralaya.