The National Eye Donation Fortnight is observed every year from 25th August to 8thSeptember to create public awareness about the importance of eye donation, and to motivate people to pledge their eyes for donation after death. Throughout the year, and more specifically, during the eye donationfortnight, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) organizes a series of activities to raise awareness about eye donation among the public.
Educational programs for eyecare personnel on various aspects of eye banking are also planned. The aim is to ensure that the availability of quality corneal tissue does not remain a barrier in tackling corneal blindness.
Corneal disease is a major cause of blindness in India. Of the 10 million blind people in India, over 2 million Indians are affected by corneal blindness – 60% of them are below the age of 12. This could be due to corneal disease, injury or infection where the cornea of the eye becomes opaque. A person with an opaque cornea cannot see, this condition is known as corneal blindness.The magnitude of corneal blindness is huge and its adverse impact on a nation is even bigger.
Corneal transplantation is the only known cure for corneal blindness. It is a surgical procedure whereby the damaged cornea is replaced by a healthy cornea from a deceased donor.Lack of awareness, myths and fears associated with eye donation are responsible for people not donating their eyes. The current cornea collection in India is able to cater to only one-fourth of the patients in need of corneal transplant surgeries.
“We urge people to come forward and pledge for eye donation. Equally important is that the person pledging shares their pledge, and will to donate their eyes, with their family members, and request them to execute the same after their death. Eye donation can happen only after the death of a person and consent from their family members. By donating eyes, we can gift sight to someone not able to see, and keep the memory of the deceased person alive,” says Dr Sujata Das, Medical Director, DrushtiDaan Eye Bank, Mithu Tulsi Chanrai Campus, Bhubaneswar, LV Prasad Eye Institute.