Tag Archives: corneal blindness

Why do I donate my Eyes?

13 May

Corneal Blindness is one of the most common causes of blindness in India and our country shoulders the largest burden of global blindness.

A corneal transplant is the replacement of damaged or diseased tissues or organs with healthy replacements. In this procedure, an ophthalmologist surgically replaces the diseased cornea with a healthy one.

When I donate my eyes and encourage my family, friends and people I interact with to donate their eyes, I bring in a possibility of change in the situation in India and we can bring light into the life of the deprived.

Image courtesy: netradaan.blogspot.com

Image courtesy: netradaan.blogspot.com

According to World Health Organization (WHO) calculations, there are about 10 lakh blind and visually disabled persons in India alone – this number could double by the year 2020 unless immediate interventions are made.

Of these 10 lakh, nearly 2 lakh persons have Corneal blindness.

Of these 1.4 lakh can be treated through corneal transplant.

Approximately 20,000 cases are being added annually and

ONLY 20,000 corneas are collected through eye donations annually

ONLY 50% of the donated eyes can be used

As of now we need 1.4 lakh corneas in India to combat Corneal Blindness

As a result, the patient line-up and wait to get a corneal transplant keeps getting longer with each passing day.

Image courtesy: aliseyecare.com

Image courtesy: aliseyecare.com

The cost of corneal transplant, in addition to unavailability for corneas, makes it practically impossible for the underprivileged to access these medical remedies.

Corneal transplant must be provided free of charge to those in greatest need.

Patients with corneal blindness can be visually rehabilitated only through transplanting their damaged or disease-affected corneas with healthy corneal tissues, obtained from voluntary donors.

Corneal problems can happen to anyone at any age.

Eye donations are hindered by lack of awareness and traditional beliefs and I strive to change that.

SO I PLEDGE TO DONATE MY EYES, DO YOU?

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.

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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