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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Eye Donation?
Eye Donation is an act of charity purely for the benefit of the society and is totally voluntary. Eye Donation is done after death. The eye donation of the deceased can be authorized by the next of kith & kin even if the deceased did not pledge his / her eyes before death.
What is the use of eyes received after death?
The eyes, which are received through such magnanimous gestures, are of great benefit to the society. The front clear and transparent tissue of the eye called the cornea can be used to restore vision to corneal blind persons. The other portions of the eye are also used for training and research purposes to develop cures for some of the common eye diseases.
What is Corneal Blindness?
The Cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye. It is a focusing element of the eye. Vision will be dramatically reduced or lost if the cornea becomes cloudy. This loss of vision is refereed to as corneal blindness.
What causes corneal blindness?
The cornea can get damaged through accidents. Children while playing with bows and arrows or sharp objects can accidentally damage their cornea. It can also happen to elders. Some of the industrial causes are chemical burns, flying debris or road accidents. The cornea can get damaged due to infections and malnutrition also.
Is there a cure for corneal blindness?
Yes. Removing the damaged cornea and replacing it with a healthy cornea by surgery can cure corneal blindness. Artificial corneas have not been developed and hence the only source for cornea is from fellow human beings.
What is the source for the cornea?
Fortunately cornea can be removed from a deceased person within six hours of death and can be used for surgery. Artificial cornea has not yet been developed nor is there any other substitute. The eyes which could ultimately be consigned to flames or buried, along with the body, can restore sight to two needy people.
What is the magnitude of corneal blindness?
There are 1.1 million people suffering from corneal blindness. Majority of the 1.1 million are young adults who have to spend long blind years even though they have a cure. The present collection form all over the country is 28857!!
How can one donate eyes?
Eyes are removed only after death. A person wishing to donate eyes should make close family members aware of their intentions. After death of the person it Is the family members who can inform the nearest eye bank to fulfill the wishes of the deceased r authorize removal of the eyes if somebody from an eye bank approaches the family.
What is an Eye Bank?
An Eye Bank is a charitable organization without any profit motive. They are purely functioning for the benefit of the society. The eye banks facilitate removal of eyes, processing of eyes and evaluation of the eyes and distribute them to the needy.
How do I ensure that the eyes so donated would not be misused?
Eye Banks are covered under Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994. It is a criminal offence to buy or sell organs. The Government issues certificate of registration to eye banks and has a provision to inspect them regularly. In case a complaint is filed against any eye bank, the government can take legal action.
How do I contact an eye bank?
A special number 1919 (BSNL) has been allotted for eye banks. Most of the eye banks all over the country have this number. Once information for eye donation is given here, the eye bank sends its team to collect the eyes. By calling this number details about eye donation can also be had.
What is the procedure for eye donation?
Call 1919 or the local telephone directory usually lists the phone number of eye banks under essential services. The eye bank personnel would give directions and precautions to be taken. The process of removing eyes does not take more than 15 to 20 minutes. The eye bank team can come either to the house where death has taken place or to the hospital where death has taken place and remove the eyes there. It would not delay the funeral arrangements.
What precautions are to be taken?
Switch off fans and switch on Air Conditioner (if available). Raise the head with a pillow. Place wet clean cloth over the closed eye lids. Please ensure that the eye lids are properly closed. Keep a copy of the death certificate ready (if available). The eye bank team which would have a trained technician or a registered medical practitioner would remove the eyes after taking consent on a printed from and also take a blood sample.
After removal of eyes would there be any complications or disfigurement?
There are two methods adopted for removal of eyes. Some eye banks would remove the whole eye ball. In such a case there may be temporary bleeding. The team is well trained to take care of such eventualities. There would be no disfigurement. The eye bank team after removal of eyes would properly close the eyes so that there is no disfigurement. The second method is removal of only the clear transparent tissue. Here also a plastic shield is placed in place of the tissue and no difference can be noticed.
Is not eye donation against religious principles or tradition?
All religions endorse eye donation. There are numerous examples in our traditions and scriptures which endorse eye and organ donation. A part of the body which would be consumed by flames and reduced to ashes or which is buried and allowed to decay and disintegrate cannot be put to a better use than restoring vision to the needy!!
Who can donate eyes? Is there no age limit?
Any body of any age can donate eyes. Even if the deceased has medical history of hypertension, diabetes, asthma, tuberculosis etc., Even spectacle wearers and people who have undergone cataract operation can donate eyes.
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