Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar was inaugurating the 28 National Eye Donation fortnight observance, organised by the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology in Thiruvananthapuram.

Eye donation awareness campaigns should be taken up more aggressively so that eye-donation promises made on paper actually materialise, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has said.

He was inaugurating the 28 National Eye Donation fortnight observance, organised by the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, here on Tuesday.

Hundreds of sightless people could be led to the world of light if the number of eyes pledged on paper was actually donated, he said. Eye donation remained more or less on paper, as the relatives and family members of a deceased individual seldom remembered to inform the Eye Bank at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO) on time.

The close relatives of a deceased individual could give consent for eye donation even if no prior consent papers had been signed, he said.

But the corneas needed to be harvested and preserved within four hours of the death of an individual. Hence it was important that the Eye Bank was informed about the availability of the eyes for donation as soon as a death occurred.

Whenever there was a death in a locality, the residents’ associations and NGOs should take the initiative to encourage and remind the family members about the possibility of donating the eyes of their loved ones to provide sight to others, doctors said.

Steps had been taken to complete the construction of the Rs.17-crore building project of RIO on time, he said.