The Noble Act Of Eye Donation
Millions of people worldwide suffer from blindness, and a significant portion of these cases is due to corneal impairments. The good news is that corneal blindness can be treated through a simple yet profound act – eye donation. Corneal transplant procedures have a success rate of over 90%, providing renewed vision to recipients.
The Scale of the Problem
Corneal diseases are a leading cause of blindness globally, affecting around 6-8 million people. In India alone, approximately 6 million individuals experience reduced vision due to corneal issues in one eye, with an additional 1 million facing problems in both eyes.
Who Can Pledge Their Eyes?
Anyone can pledge their eyes, regardless of age, gender, religion, or medical history.
Even individuals with conditions like diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts can donate their eyes.
People who wear glasses are also eligible to pledge their eyes.
Only a Part of the Eye is used in Transplant
The cornea, the outer and transparent part of the eyeball, is used in eye donation.
Since the cornea has a limited blood supply, it poses fewer rejection problems during transplant. One person’s donated eyes can be transplanted into two individuals with different corneal diseases causing blindness.
Contraindications for Eye Donation
People with AIDS or other infectious diseases like Cholera, Hepatitis, COVID-19, Meningitis,Rabies,Tetanus, and Septicemia cannot donate their eyes. However, eyes not suitable for transplant can still be used for clinical research.
The Process of Eye Donation in India
Eye donation can only occur after a person’s demise and should take place within 4-5 hours after death. A registered medical practitioner must remove the eyes. The eye bank team collects the eyeball from the deceased person, whether at home, in a hospital, or a nursing home. Even if the person did not sign a pledge, close relatives can authorize the donation after death.
Common Myths About Eye Donation
- Face Deformation: A common myth suggests that eye donation results in facial deformities. In reality, only the cornea and part of the sclera (the outermost layer of the eye) are removed.
- History of Eye Disease: People with a history of glaucoma or cataracts who have been treated or operated on can still pledge for eye donation.
- Senior Citizens Are Ineligible: Age is not a factor in eye donation eligibility. Anyone over the age of one year can donate their eyes.
- Expensive Procedure: Eye donation itself is a charitable act and cannot be bought or sold. However, there may be costs associated with eye transplant surgery and post-surgical care.
With advanced technologies and increased awareness, we have the opportunity to provide corneas to those suffering from corneal blindness. Blindness is a global concern, and corneal impairments contribute significantly to this problem. However, through eye donation, we can offer hope and light to those living in darkness. The act of donating one’s eyes transcends age, gender, and beliefs. It is a selfless and charitable gesture that can change lives and allow others to see the world in all its colors.