Let Eye Donation Be A Family Tradition

The cornea is the clear, transparent, tissue covering the front of the eye. It serves as a window to allow light to enter the eye. Vision will be dramatically reduced or lost if the cornea becomes cloudy from disease, injury or infection.

The main causes of corneal blindness are injuries, malnutrition, infections, chemical burns, congenital disorders and post-operative complications or infections.

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Corneal grafting:

Fortunately, lost sight due to corneal diseases can only be restored through corneal transplantation. This is a procedure in which the cornea of a donor eye is grafted to replace the diseased cornea of the patient. A significant proportion of these patients can have their sight restored through corneal transplantation.

You can help this happen. Let eye donation be your family tradition. Donate eyes of your dearest after death. Age does not matter. The eyes of the deceased of any age can be donated whether he/ she has pledged the eyes or not.

Spectacle wearers, and people suffering from systemic disorders like asthma, tuberculosis diabetes and hypertension can also donate eyes. Patients who have undergone cataract surgery can donate eyes.

All religions endorse the practice of eye donation and it should always be encouraged as a RELIGIOUS ETHICS:-

Eyes have to be removed within six hours after death. So, lose no time in informing the nearest eye bank. You could be instrumental in ensuring an eye donation in time. If someone unfortunately dies in your family or friends circle, remember to call the nearest eye bank. Till the authorised person comes to remove the eyes, switch off fans, keep the airconditioner or cooler running and place wet cotton with ice over the closed eyelids. It will help keep the tissue moist and increase the viability of the donated cornea.

The eyes are removed by a trained person using a sterile procedure. It leaves no scar/disfigurement of the face. The donated eyes are never bought or sold. A request for eye donation is always attended to.

Eye donation in India:-

Corneal blindness affects mainly children and young adults who have a long life ahead of them. In India approximately 22,000 corneas from donated eyes are collected against the requirement of about 1 lakh corneas per year. Because of this huge lack of donor eyes in India new patients are added each year to a long list of already waiting patients.

Steps for the prevention of corneal blindness:

* All children below six years of age need supplementary dose of Vitamin-A solution

* Vaccinate all children as per schedule.

* Wear protective goggles in hazardous industries.

* Prevent eye injury, keep sharp articles away from the reach of young children.

* Be careful about the use of chemicals during Holi and crackers on Divali, etc.

* For any eye problem consult an eye specialist.

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The frequently asked questions about eye donation:

1. What is cornea?

Cornea is the glass-like covering over the pupil of the eye.

2. Why does the cornea get damaged?

The cornea usually gets damaged because of infections or injuries of the eye or poor nutrition especially in childhood.

3. How can the eyesight in these patients be restored?

Persons who have lost their sight because of damage to the cornea can hope to regain it with corneal grafting.

4. Who can be an eye donor?

Anyone’s age or sex is not important, and it does not matter if you wear glasses or have undergone a cataract operation or any other eye surgery. All that is needed is a clear and healthy cornea.

5. Are any costs involved in eye donation?

No fees are charged from the family. The eye collection centre will rush a doctor to the donor’s home. This is a free service in the public interest.

6. Can I choose who will receive the corneas from my eyes?

You may make a request to that effect to the eye bank. But the corneas are usually transplanted into the next two patients on the waiting list to avoid any unfair practice.

7. Can my family meet the person who receives the corneas from my eyes?

No. The recipient will always remain anonymous. But the family should take pride in knowing the fact that the donor’s eyes have been used to restore vision to two blind people.

8. Can the eyes be removed at home?

The eyes can be removed at home or any other place where the body is kept after death.

9. What are the normal and religious views on eye donation?

Religious leaders throughout the world have voiced their support for eye donation as an expression for the highest humanitarian ideals.

Sources:
Most of writings taken from the notes of Chairman and Medical Director, Centre for Sight, New Delhi. E-mail: msachdev@bol.net.in

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