The eyes of your loved ones can live on even after their death and can bring light in someones life. Only a call to the nearest eye bank can help visually-impaired people who have been for long at regional eye banks,due to a dearth of eye donors.
Dr Amit Gupta,associate professor at Advanced Eye Care Centre,Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research,Chandigarh said,India has the largest population of visually-impaired people in the world. Every year,up to 50,000 people lose their eye sight due to various corneal diseases. Many of these can be helped if they undergo corneal transplant.
He further said,It is unfortunate that out of nearly 1 crore deaths across the country annually,less than 40,000 donate their eyes. Even at PGIMER,though 58,800 people have pledged their eyes since 1992,the turn out rate is very less.
Amarjit Singh,technical assistant at Eye bank,PGIMER said,Everyday,nearly 10-12 people register their names for cornea transplant,leading to about 300 new names in a month at the Eye Care Centre of PGI. Contrary to the demand,on an average 20 transplants are possible in a month because of a dearth of eye donors.
Dr Sunandan Sood,professor and head,eye department of Government Medical College and Hospital,Sector 32,said,Every year,more than 500 patients register themselves with the hospitals eye department for corneal transplantation,but only 150-200 of them are operated upon,due to lack of eye donors.
Sood added,People from this region are reluctant about donating eyes,because of several superstitions. Moreover,family members of the deceased,out of emotional trauma ignore donation. They easily burn the tissue which can give vision to a visually-impaired person.
Talking about the process of eye donation,Dr Amit Gupta said,The process is simple,the donor has to fill a pledge card at the nearest eye bank. The donors will then be issued a donor card,which has to be on the person all the time. To make the process more convenient,we have started an online registration process for donors on http://www.eyebankpgi.org .
The moral responsibility of the eye donors does not end here,they should convey their wish to their family members. There is a myth that the process of eye transplant will take long,thus delaying the cremation ceremony and will disfigure the body of the deceased. In the event of the demise of a family member,relatives have to just make a call to a nearest eye bank. A team will reach the house and harvest the eyes; the whole process will not take more than 15 to 20 minutes. Artificial eyes are used to replace the harvested eyes to avoid any cosmetic disfigurement, Gupta added.