As many as 15 lakh people, mostly children and young are suffering from cornea blindness in the country and every year 25,000 persons are adding to the total. If cornea of 20 per cent of the one crore people dying every year, on an average, is donated cornea blindness could be eliminated in a short time. The Eye Banks Association of India revealed that 41,888 corneas have been collected during 2011 while two lakh persons needed cornea transplantation.
This was what the office-bearers of the Mohsin Eye Bank being run by the Visakhapatnam Eye Bank and Research Training (VEBART) Trust said at a press conference held here on Friday to announce the best achievement award it received from the Sight Life International of the US and the best eye bank manager award received for 2012, at a function held in New Delhi a few days ago.
The eye bank, which was started in 2001 and is now functioning from the premises of the LV Prasad Eye Institute, is conducting many programmes to create awareness among people about the need to donate eye (cornea). The number of corneas collected and transplanted during 2011 was 424 and 284 respectively and the figure went up to 700 and 513 during 2012 which earned it the awards from the Sight Life International.
Cornea collection process is done free of cost and the corneas are used at the local hospitals or sent to different places in and outside AP depending on the need.
Those wishing to donate corneas can call the toll free number 1053 and a team of trained technicians would come and collect the cornea. The cornea is collected by making a very small incision and the shape of the eye is not disfigured. Cornea collected from a dead person has a life of four days and 72 hours is the best period for transplantation.
There are only seven surgeons in the city who are trained in conducting the cornea transplantation surgeries. Many also have no idea that hospitals here can conduct the cornea replacement surgeries.
Chairman of the eye bank and VEBART Trust Kasim S. Mehdi, secretary Arisetti Sreerama Murthy, medical superintendent Merle Fernandes, joint secretary Matta Rajasekhar and a trustee M. Ravindra Babu spoke.