Eye Donation

1. What is Eye Donation?
Eye donation means donating one's eyes after death. The donated eyes are stored in a specialized laboratory called as Eye Bank. This is similar to a blood bank, storing tissues till the time there is a requirement of the eyes (cornea) for transplantation.

2. Who can donate eyes?
Anyone can donate eyes; there is no age bar for donation, male or female, spectacle wearers can also donate their eyes. Patients with hypertension, diabetics, asthmatics and those who have undergone surgery in the past whether of eyes or any other site on the body can also pledge to donate eyes.

3. Who cannot donate eyes?
Persons suffering from HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, Blood cancers, Rabies, Septicemia (infection throughout the body) cannot be considered for eye donation.

4. How can one donate eyes? During life one can register his/her name with the closest eye bank by filling up pledge cards or after death the family members can request for an eye donation to the closest eye bank. Either of the cases the 1st blood related family member of the deceased has to give consent for eye donation. One should contact the eye bank within 6hrs of death.

5. Who can benefit from eye donation? Cornea is the outermost, thin and transparent tissue of the eye through which light passes inside and we are able to see. Thereby only those people who are blinded because of damage to the cornea can be benefited from eye donation / eye (corneal) transplantation. Thus in corneal transplantation (keratoplasty) only the layer of cornea is replaced and not the entire eye as it is usually understood.

6. What are the causes of corneal blindness?
The majority of causes of corneal blindness are preventable. The common causes are infections, trauma (injury), chemical burns and some hereditary abnormalities. All the above mentioned conditions need transplantation when cornea loses its clarity.

7. What are the instructions for eye donation?
One should call the nearest eye bank within 6hrs of the death, give the proper address and telephone number of the location. By the time the eye bank team arrives:- • Close the eyelids • Place wet cotton /cloth over the closed eye lids • Elevate the head with pillows under the neck • Switch off the fans • If A/C is available switch it on

8. Why donate eyes?
In India: Number of corneal blind persons ------- 22 Lac Corneal Requirement every year -------- 75,000 to 1lac Total corneas collected every year-------33,000 Percentage of corneal blindness ---------60% (under the age of 12yrs) 90% (under the age of 45 yrs) It's obviously very clear that a great disproportionate ratio exists between demand and supply of corneal tissues and thereby it's our moral duty to return to the society and the needy few the gift of sight.

9. What can YOU do for Eye donation?
One should register his/her name and pledge for eye donation with any eye bank. The most important action you can take to ensure you will be a donor is to tell your family and legal representative. The eye banking law requires your "Next of Kin" to give consent and medical history for the donation. Various NGO's should take the initiative to promote eye donation campaigns in the society and organize meetings to create awareness and clarify the myths with eye donation.

10. What are the myths and facts of eye donation?

Myths
Facts
My religion doesn't allow organ and tissue donation.

Most religions throughout the world support organ and tissue donation as a humanitarian act.
If I donate my eyes it will disfigure my face

As only the cornea is removed there is no disfigurement
Donation will be costly to my family

There is no cost to the donor's family. The Eye Bank pays for all costs related to corneal donation
The whole eye can be transplanted

Only the cornea and the sclera (the white of the eye) can be transplanted
Is cancer a rule-out for donation?

No, not all cancers are contra-indications for eye donation.
Eyes which have undergone surgery cannot be used Even eyes which have undergone surgery in the past can be used for transplantation

 

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