We are one of the fastest growing economies in the world today; ironically, we also shoulder one of the largest populations of the visually impaired. There are almost 52 million visually impaired people and 270,000 blind children in India. That’s almost one-fourth the world’s blind population living in India. For the more academically oriented, as some economist pointed out, this could mean a cumulative loss of over $ 11. 1 billion to our GNP! It is this kind of a grave situation that made the government initiate a first of its kind, dedicated program for the eradication of unnecessary blindness.
However, even such programs are meager when compared to the magnitude of the problem. According to Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) study on blindness show that about 25% of the total blind in India are blind due to corneal blindness. we require really a large number of people to donate their eyes if we want to treat these patients. There is a huge gap between the supply and demand of eyes – supply being 10% of demand! And in a country like India this gap is ever increasing. How bad is the situation?
Open our eyes to this. Out of the 9,500,000 deaths that occurred in the country last year, only a mere 10,000 had opted for eye donations. This is in contrast to the demand of about one million eyes per annum. Why this lack of concern? Well, some experts like to believe that such a callous attitude on part of society is due to a lack of a concerted effort on a national scale by everyone who needs to be involved, namely, professionals, the media, Government, voluntary organizations and civil society at large.
Then, there are superstitions and strange beliefs to contend with: The belief that one will be born disfigured or blind in the next birth if eyes are removed before cremation / burial. The misconception that the process of eye donation involves hassles like taking the dead person to the hospital and waiting for procedures Finally, if consent and cooperation of family members/survivors is not there, then even an eye-pledge form from the donor is useless. What is Eye Donation? Eye Donation is donation of our eyes after death so that our eyes can give light to a blind person’s life.
Eye donations are used for cornea transplants. The cornea is the clear outer covering of the eye. Through injury or disease it can become cloudy, causing blindness. But doctors can transplant a donated human cornea and restore sight. The 2 eyes of a donated person will go to 2 different Corneally Blind individuals; so through our eyes, 2 blind people will get to see this world! What is Cornea? This layer is the entry point for every eye to see things around you, in this world! If Cornea gets damaged, then well, it leads to blindness!
This is the outer layer at the front of the eye. The colored part of the eye (called Iris) and the round opening in it (called Pupil) can be seen through the cornea. The Cornea helps to focus and transmit light as it passes to the lens and on to the Retina at the back of the eye. (When light reaches the retina, it is converted into impulses which are transmitted via the Optic nerve to the visual centre in the brain)? Causes of corneal blindness include: Injuries Infections Vitamin A deficiency.
Traditional medicine or home remedies, which often harm the eye rather than relieve pain or improve eyesight Treatment of Corneal Blindness Treatment of corneal blindness depends on the underlying disease or condition. Corneal transplants can cure some types of corneal diseases. Corneal Transplants is a surgical procedure which replaces damaged or injured cornea with a similarly shaped piece of a healthy cornea from a donor. Why should Eyes be donated? There is no substitute for human tissue.
The transplantation process depends upon the priceless gift of cornea donation (eye donation) from one human to the next. The use of artificial tissue for transplantation has been unsuccessful. Who can donate Eyes? Anyone can donate eyes. It does not matter even if you Have undergone any eye surgery Poor Eyesight Wear glasses Diabetic Hypertensive Extremes of Age Facts about Eye Donation Eyes can be donated only after death Eyes must be removed within 4 – 6 hours after death Only a Registered Medical Practitioner can remove eyes from a deceased.
The eye bank team will remove the eyes from the home of the deceased or from a hospital Eye removal does not delay the funeral since the entire procedure takes 20-30 minutes only A small quantity of blood will be drawn to rule out communicable diseases Eye retrieval does not cause disfigurement Religions are for eye donation The identities of both the donor and the recipient are kept confidential Instruction for Eye Donation To donate eyes, the relatives of the deceased should do the following procedures Close the eyelids of the deceased.
Switch off the fan Raise the head of the deceased slightly by placing a pillow underneath Contact the nearest eye bank as quickly as possible. CALL – 1919 Give the correct address with specific landmarks and telephone number to enable the eye bank team locate the place easily If the death certificate from the physician is available, keep it ready Eye donation can be done only with the written consent of the next of kin in the presence of two witnesses What can you do? Join hand with us for the movement of Eye Donation.
Motivate family members of the person who has died in your area Spread information about Eye Donation This requires no money but only some precious time of yours leads to more Corneal Blind folks to get their Sight and Enjoy the colors of this world, as we are doing! Donate your Eyes You don’t need a degree, any special skills, or even perfect vision. All you need is a completed eye donor card, and a desire to help. Talk to your family Sign a donor card Carry it with you To Donate Eyes Call 1919 at the end… Light up the darkness in life. Enable blind to see this beautiful world, through your eyes!