Expert inputs from Dr. Satish Mehta, Consultant, Ophthalmology, Moolchand Eye Clinic, Moolchand Medcity: India has the largest burden of global blindness. While the problem is formidable, the need to take up the challenge of curtailing it is mandatory. According to the World Health organization up to 80% of cases of blindness are avoidable, either resulting from preventable conditions (20%) or being treatable (60%) so that the sight is restored. However, the lack of public awareness about eye donation is the biggest cause for a growing disparity between the number of corneas available and the number of people who need them.
How eye donations work:
- Eyes need to be removed within 6 hours after death and so, it is important (for kin who are aware of your donor status) to get in touch with the nearest eye bank at the earliest.
- Also remember while making a call to the nearest Eye Bank that the eyes of the deceased person should be closed and covered with moist cotton.
- And, the ceiling fan, if any, running directly over the deceased person should be switched off.
Basic perquisites for eye donation:
- There is no age-limit for donating the eyes.
- One has to fill up a simple eye donation form to donate his/her eyes after death and requires the support of the relatives or friends to carry out the wishes of eye donation of the deceased.
- People using spectacles and those diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension can also donate their eyes.
Medical criteria for eye donations:
- The gift of sight is made anonymously
- When someone gives his/her consent for eye donation during their lifetime, it means that their eyes will be removed within a few hours after the death by a trained professional.
- Verbal consent from the senior member available next-of-kin is sufficient.
- If the death has occurred at the hospital, it will be done there; and if at home, one has to call the nearest Eye Bank. The dead body is not required to be taken anywhere, the procedure takes a few minutes and there is no disfigurement of the eyes.
- There is absolutely no cost to the donor family. It is illegal to buy or sell human eyes, organs, and tissues.
Whose eyes will be my eyes?
Generally, the Eye Bank has a list of people who need eyes and who have been registered with them. They contact them as per the need, accordingly.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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