The Hindu, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, will launch a nationwide eye donation drive on Deepavali weekend.

The drive, Light Up a Life, is being launched in partnership with Sankara Nethralaya.

Taking up on Deepavali being a festival of lights, this project intends to bring light into the life of those who cannot see, through corneal transplantation. The idea is to collect a database of respondents and carry forward the pledge to donate one’s corneas.

There are currently around 15 million blind people in India. Of these, 6.8 million suffer from corneal blindness , and of these, about 1 million have bilateral corneal blindness, or are blind in both eyes. If the present trend continues, it is expected that the number of corneally blind individuals in India will increase to 8.4 million in 2010 and 10.6 million by 2020. It is expected that at least 3 million people with corneal blindness can benefit from corneal transplantation. To effectively meet the growing demand, it is necessary to perform around 1,50,000 corneal transplants every year.

The SMS format for citizens to pledge is: SMS: PLEDGE <space> Your Name, Age, City, Email Id to 53030. Text messages received from across India will be taken up by Sankara Nethralaya and they will proceed to a formal registration procedure.

The campaign will include a film that will be shared on social media (YouTube) on corneal blindness and the importance of eye donation. A call-for-action for the campaign will be devised through SMS, where anyone can message his/her name, city and email address to a specified number.

More In: Chennai | News