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Eye Donation

Globally, approximately 6 to 8 million people are blind due to cornea affected by diseases.

In India, approximately 6.8 million persons are having vision less than 6/60 in at least one eye due to corneal diseases and both eyes are involved in approximately one million persons.

National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) data shows that currently 1,20,000 persons in India are affected due to corneal blindness with an addition of 25,000-30,000 cases of corneal blindness every year.

To address this high prevalence of corneal blindness, approximately 2,50,000 corneas are needed per year; as against total number of corneas donated per year of 25,000.

Therefore, there is a huge backlog of 2,25,000 donated corneas every year.

To tackle this high incidence of corneal blindness, corneal transplantation has emerged as the main sight restoration procedure which is mainly dependent on voluntary eye donation by suitable donors.

For children, doctors may look out for a few possible problems. They are:

10 Facts on Eye Donation

Eyes may be donated only after death.

  • Eyes must be removed within 4-6 hours after death.
  • Eyes may be removed only by a trained doctor.
  • The eyes will be removed at home of the deceased or at a hospital by the eye bank team.
  • Eye removal takes only 10 to 15 minutes, and is a simple procedure and does not lead to any disfigurement.
  • Only the transparent section of the eyes called cornea is taken out and not the full eye ball.
  • A small quantity of blood will be drawn to rule out communicable diseases.
  • The eyes can be pledged to any eye bank.
  • The identities of both the donor and the recipient remain confidential.
  • Religions do support eye donations.
  • With family consent of the deceased, eyes can still be donated, even when the deceased, himself/ herself hasn’t pledged.
Who can/ cannot donate eyes?

Eye donors could be of any age group or sex. People who use spectacles, diabetics, and patients with high blood pressure, asthma patients, people who’ve had successful eye surgeries and those without communicable diseases can donate eyes.

Persons with AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Rabies, Septicemia, Acute leukemia (Blood cancer), Tetanus, Cholera, and infectious diseases like Meningitis and Encephalitis cannot donate eyes.

Costs/ Fees involved in donation

It is illegal to buy or sell human eyes, organs or tissues. No fee is charged from the family of the deceased. It is a free service in public interest. Any costs associated with eye procurement are absorbed by the eye bank.

If you’ve got the precious gift of vision, don’t waste it, rather pass it on to someone in need.

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