Experts believe it is necessary to continue effective ways to increase eye donations due to the massive shortage of donor corneas in eye banks in the country. Every year, August 25 to September 8 is observed as National Eye Donation fortnight.
According to data collected through various studies, there are between 6.8 million and 10.6 million cornea blind people in India and 25-30, 000 new cases are added every year.
According to data, the annual need for donor corneas is at least 2.5 lakh, but all eye banks in India manage to collect only as many as 45-50,000 per year, of which 60-70 per cent are transplanted.
According to Dr Shilpa Joshi HoD, cornea department at H V Desai Eye Hospital, placing grief counsellors in hospitals to counsel the family of the deceased, rendering assistance to next of kin and speeding up medico-legal formalities can be very effective ways of increasing eye donations, she said. Awareness about eye donation can be increased through advocacy programmes and paramedical staff of multi-speciality hospitals, medical and nursing students, optometrists, and students of other streams can be educated through various programmes and training sessions.
Corneal transplant during Covid pandemic
Col Dr Madan Deshpande, chief medical director, H V Desai Eye Hospital, said they have been taking rigorous measures during the pandemic to keep infections at bay. Whenever there is a call for eye donation, history, cause of death and all reports are carefully assessed before the procedure, he said.