"The eye is the window to the world, at the same time, it is the window of the soul." - Shakespeare.
35 million people are BLIND or going blind in the developing world and most of them can be cured. Out of 3 million corneally blind people 60% are children below the age of 12. Target retrieval of corneas by Eye bank of India is 150,000 corneas per year.
So, if we have got God's gift of Vision, why not try to pass it on to somebody who doesn't have it?
The number of people awaiting corneal transplant is out numbering the available donor tissues. Corneal Transplantation is the only effective restoration for the replacement of human tissues in the eye. This is considered as a precious and possessed gift of sight for millions of people all over the world.
Eyes may be donated only after death
1. Eyes must be removed within 4-6 hours after death, and the nearest eye bank should be informed immediately.
2. Eyes may be removed only by a trained doctor.
3. The eye bank team will remove the eyes at the home of the deceased or at a hospital.
4. Eye removal takes only 10 to 15 minutes, is simple and does not lead to any disfigurement.
5. Please remember that only the transparent section of the eyes called cornea is taken out and not the full eye ball.
6. A small quantity of blood will be drawn to rule out communicable diseases.
7. The eyes can be pledged to any eye bank preferably the nearest one.
8. The identities of both the donor and the recipient remain confidential.
9. One pair of eyes gives vision to TWO corneal blind people.
Eye donors can belong to any age group or sex.
People who use spectacles, short sightedness, long sightedness or astigmatism or even those operated for cataract can still donate, as these conditions may not affect the cornea.
Patients who are diabetics, those suffering from hypertension, asthma patients and those without communicable diseases can also donate eyes.
Persons who were infected with or died from AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, rabies, septicemia, acute leukemia, tetanus, cholera, meningitis or encephalitis cannot donate eyes.
Eyes donated to The Eye-Bank that are not medically suitable for transplant may be used for medical research and education.
Please take the following precautions to preserve the eyes
Close the eyes of the deceased and place moist cotton over them.
Raise the head about six inches with a pillow, to lessen incidence of bleeding during removal of the eyes.
Fans should be switched off.
Put a polythene cover with few ice cubes on forehead.
If possible instill antibiotic eye drops periodically to prevent infection.
Inform eye bank immediately.
An eye bank is a non-profit community organization managed by a medical director, eye bank manager and eye bank technicians. It collects, evaluates and distributes the eyes donated by the loved ones. All eyes donated are evaluated using strict medical standards. Those donated eyes found unsuitable for transplantation are used for valuable research and medical education.
Functions of the eye bank
1. Availability of trained staff round the clock to attend the calls.
2. Evaluate and provide quality corneas to corneal surgeons
3. Enable corneal research using eyes unsuitable for grafts to find newer techniques, improve preservation methods and train corneal surgeons.
4. Increase public awareness about eye donation and eye banking.