Tamil Nadu has been the leader in eye donation and recorded the maximum number of cornea collections in the country, said Amar Agarwal, Chairman, Dr. Agarwal's Eye Hospital.

Speaking at the launch of an awareness programme on eye donation here on Tuesday, he said there was a growing need to sensitise people to eye donation. “Though many are willing, logistical issues have become a challenge. For instance, the eyes must be removed within six hours of the death of the individual. This has been not possible in many cases,” he said.

With the development in technology, it is now possible to transplant one cornea on two patients by slicing it into two layers. “This would mean four persons can benefit if one donates his eyes,” he said.

People with diabetes, hypertension, and those who had undergone eye surgery can also donate eyes. “Only a very small percentage of people, like those with HIV/AIDS or eye cancer cannot be eye donors.” There would not be any facial disfigurement as artificial eyes would be placed instead.

Participating in the programme, actor Vikram said donating eyes would make a huge difference to the lives of people. “My role as a person with visual disability in ‘Kaasi' made me realise how challenging it is for them. This triggered me to be part of this movement,” he said.