Archive | October, 2011

Eye Donation

28 Oct

The greatest pleasure comes from giving sight to a blind person. Imagine the world of a person who cannot see. It’s usually a world without hope. But for some of these carnally blind persons, there is still hope. And this hope comes eye donation, since what’s being donated is useless to the donor after death.

You have the power to bring immense joy by giving sight to the blind.

Why:

In India, we have an estimated 4.6 million people with corneal blindness that is curable through corneal transplant that’s possible by eye donation. More than 90% of the corneal transplants are carried out successfully and help restore vision in people with corneal blindness. Corneal transplant in infants born with cloudy cornea can make a massive difference to their lives.

Corneal Blindness:

What is Corneal Blindness? Cornea is the transparent skin cover at the front of the eye. It is like the windscreen of a car; if damaged, vision is lost.

How:

By replacing the damaged cornea with a good cornea, these carnally blind persons can gain vision and see again.

Causes:

Eye infections, eye injuries and malnutrition, if not attended to in time, cause blindness. A very large percentage of carnally blind are children belonging to poor families.

Eye donation and restoration of sight through corneal transplant is an exciting combination of selfless charity and the miracle of medical technology.

Facts about eye donation:

Eyes should be donated within 6-8 hours of death.
Anyone can be a donor, irrespective of age, sex, blood-group or religion.
Total removal time is about 15-20 minutes.
Spectacle wearers, hypertensive and diabetics can also donate their eyes.
There is no disfigurement caused to the donor’s face.
Eyes can be donated even if the deceased had not formally pledged their eyes during their lifetime.
The eye bank team will immediately reach the donor’s home to collect the eyes and this service is free.
Eyes are never bought or sold.
All religions endorse eye donation. 

Myths about eye donation:

Face/body will be disfigured.
Will be born blind in the next birth.
Will not be able to see God. 

Contraindications for corneal transplantation:

Active Viral Hepatitis
Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or HIV
Active Viral Encephalitis or Encephalitis of unknown origin
Rabies
Active Septicemia
Retinoblastoma
Leukemia and Lymphoma 

Conclusions:

Pledge to donate your eyes. Make it your family’s tradition.
Motivate and educate others about eye donation.
Motivate the next of kin of the deceased to donate their eyes.

Types of Blindness

19 Oct

Blindness is the condition where one lacks visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors. 

Complete Blindness:

Complete or Total Blindness is the complete lack of form and visual light perception and is clinically recorded as NLP, an abbreviation for No Light Perception. Blindness is frequently used to describe severe visual impairment with residual vision.

Complete blindness causes complete darkness in the affected person’s sight. There is no perception of light, color, shape or movement.

Complete blindness, though rare, can be caused by any type of retinal detachment or damage to the optic nerve or a disease that attacks the central nervous system, such as brain tumor or a stroke.

Legal Blindness

Legal blindness is defined as having equal to or worse than a 20/200 visual acuity in the better eye with the best correction possible.

Legal blindness typically indicates that the central vision is lost while the peripheral vision is usually intact. Patients are usually able to function to a certain extent.

This means that a legally blind individual would have to stand 20 feet (6.1 m) from an object to see it, with corrective lenses and with the same degree of clarity as a normal sighted person could from 200 feet (61 m). People with average acuity, who nonetheless have a visual field of less than 20 degrees (the norm being 180 degrees), are also classified as being legally blind. 

Colour Blindness

People who suffer from Colour blindness, also called dyschromatopsia, are unable to distinguish between certain colors.

This type of blindness usually affects men and the most common form of color blindness is red-green color blindness. Color blindness is almost always present since birth and is usually caused by the presence of a defective gene in the X chromosome. 

Night Blindness

Night blindness is vision impairment that occurs at night or when the surrounding light is dim.

It does not generally result in a complete lack of vision, but significantly impairs vision. People with night blindness often have difficulty driving at night or seeing stars. These factors include cataracts, birth defects, Vitamin A deficiency or a retinal disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Signs of blindness in babies

Blindness in children is extremely rare and is very difficult to detect, especially in newborns.

Premature babies are more vulnerable to blindness. If a baby is born blind, it’s usually because of abnormalities during development, a hereditary disease, injury at birth or congenital infection that caused the damage. 

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Eye Donation – History

12 Oct

Introduction

If you are reading this, you consider yourself lucky to do this experiment.

Imagine closing your eyes and someone reading you these lines. How relaxing as you just enjoy listening without bothering to read or keeping your eyes open. You don’t mind doing this and enjoy it as you always knew that whenever you feel like you can open your eyes to read and enjoy the beauty of the world to see.

What if you can never open your eyes afterwards to see anything? You would never want to close your eyes for anything.

Feels scary? Hurt?

Imagine the fate of people waiting out there for someone who can bring back their vision by opening their eyes to see and enjoy the freedom of vision all over again.

Though restoring vision by donating your eyes is limited to treating corneal blindness alone, it has a greater impact when it comes to brightening an individual’s world of vision.

By donating your eyes you brighten the hopes of millions of people.

The History of Eye Donation

How it all Started

The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, the world’s first eye bank, is devoted to restoring sight through eye donations and cornea transplants

Some miracles just happen:

This pioneering agency which changed the lives of thousands and led the way for the whole field of transplantation, resulted from the brilliant partnership of an ophthalmologist Dr R. Townley Paton, M.D with a dream and a dynamic woman Mrs. Aida Breckinridge, a genius for motivating people.

The dream was to create a system that would allow people to pledge their eyes at death so that others, suffering from corneal blindness, could regain their sight.

As early as 1905, doctors had discovered that corneal blindness could be cured by replacing the damaged cornea with another clear human cornea.

A young ophthalmologist, R. Townley Paton, M.D., was convinced that cornea transplantation was a viable cure that could provide thousands of patients with visual redemption.

The Idea of an Eye Bank:

Dr. Paton had trained with the famous Dr. William Holland Wilmer at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He later established his own practice in New York City and became affiliated with Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital.

There he began to perform cornea transplants with tissue he obtained privately. One source of tissue was prisoners on death row.

At the time, the death penalty was in practice, so Dr. Paton would make periodic visits to nearby Sing-Sing prison. With permission from proper authorities, he would obtain consent for donation from prisoners on death row and bring the donor tissue back to the hospital after a prisoner had been executed.

It may have been on one of these late night forays that Dr. Paton came to the brilliant conclusion that what was needed was a system for collecting eye donations, processing them and distributing them to doctors for transplant surgeries.

People could pledge their eyes in advance of their death, leaving a legacy of sight, just as they already made out their wills. He envisioned an eye bank.

The Organization is founded

Dr. Paton and a small group of doctors and laymen from surrounding institutions formed an organization on December 15, 1944 in a small room at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and laid the groundwork for The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration.

They designed a plan in which eyes could be systematically obtained, preserved and redistributed to doctors who were performing cornea transplant operations. 

Thanks to an Inspirational Woman

To help implement the plan, Dr. Paton wisely solicited the help of Mrs. Aida Breckinridge, a known powerhouse for motivating people.

Mrs. Breckinridge had worked tirelessly to establish The Wilmer Institute which opened in 1929. And after that she led other causes including President Hoover’s Child Health Association.

Well-connected to society, business leaders and political figures of the time, Mrs. Breckinridge could wield the influence needed to popularize a unique idea. Plus, the thought of an agency to restore sight appealed to her because she herself suffered from glaucoma and was nearly blind.

Early Challenges

The eye bank was underway. But progress was not without its hurdles — some predictable, others unforeseen.

State regulators were put off from incorporating a bank that did not do financial transactions. With legal counsel, the problem was solved by inserting a hyphen into the phrase eye bank and adding further description, hence, The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, Inc., as it is called today.

There was no legal precedent for obtaining anatomical gifts. So laws had to be amended allowing any person to direct the manner in which his body should be disposed of after death.

Image Courtesy:

http://bit.ly/eyedonimg 


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