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Making eye donation a tradition

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By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 8 Sep: As the nation observes its 36th National Eye Donation Fortnight, various campaigns have been launched to raise public awareness about the importance of eye donation and to motivate people to pledge their eyes towards the cause of eradicating corneal blindness.
“The main objective of celebrating the fortnight is to create mass public consciousness about the importance of eye donation and to motivate people to pledge their eyes for donation after death,” said Dr Saurabh Luthra, President of Dehradun Ophthalmological Society and Chairman Academics of Uttarakhand State Ophthalmological Society.
Drishti Eye Institute, one of the premier eye hospitals in North India, is actively holding eye donation programmes and awareness campaigns.
Explaining the importance of eye donation, Dr Gaurav Luthra, Medical Director, Drishti Eye Institute, stated, “Blindness is a huge problem in India. According to statistics, one-third of the world’s blind population is in India. Nothing but eye donations can only help eradicate corneal blindness.”
Elaborating on who can be a donor for eye donation, Cornea Specialist Dr Ruchika Pattanaik said, “Cornea of a healthy eye can be donated by a deceased of any age.” Dr Ruchika in recent months has successfully transplanted a significant number of corneas at Drishti Eye Institute.
Dr Ruchika underlined, “Since the consent of the family is mandatory for eye donation, it is necessary that the donor must inform the family about his/her wish to donate eyes after pledging.”
However, clearing up the common conception that if a person hasn’t pledged eyes during lifetime, their eyes cannot be donated after their demise, Dr Gaurav remarked – “Anyone in the family of a deceased can volunteer to do so.”
He urged people to come forward and pledge to do so. “Eye donation should be established as a tradition in our country so that more and more people can benefit from it,” he said.
Eye donation can only be done posthumously. Only the cornea of the donor is taken. The process takes only 15-20 minutes. The deceased’s face is not disfigured after the cornea is taken. The team that goes to collect the cornea takes full care to not disrespect the sentiments of the loved ones. Everyone can donate eyes except people suffering from diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis, Leukemia, etc. At least two people can be illuminated with one eye donation. Eye donation should take place within six hours of death. Consent of the family is mandatory for eye donation. Eyes can be donated even if the deceased had not formally pledged their eyes during their lifetime.