MADURAI: Even if one lakh useable corneas are obtained every year through donation, it will take another 20 years to clear the backlog of corneal blindness, according to Aravind Eye Hospitals Director M. Srinivasan.
About 30,000 corneas were obtained every year, of which only about 12,500 could be used for transplantation.
However, the number of corneal blind increased by 15,000 a year, he said in an interview here on Tuesday.
Despite intensive campaigning by Government and private players in recent years, there was no spurt in eye donation to cope with the growing demand.
It had taken a decade for eye donation to treble from 10,000, he pointed out.
He said that the Centre should lay down a policy for collection of corneas from people who die in Government and private hospitals.
“The US, which has a similar policy, obtains more than 90,000 corneas a year. It gives the surplus to Japan, India and West Asia,” said Dr. Srinivasan. Further, ‘eye donation’ should be removed from Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, as it sowed fear and created suspicion.
All the eye banks and eye donation centres — about 500 in India — should be registered and accredited.
“A body such as Eye Bank Association of India, which comprises qualified professionals, can be empowered to certify their quality,” said Dr. Srinivasan, who is also the association president.
Last year, Tamil Nadu ranked first in the country with 7,000 eye donations, followed by Gujarat with 5,000. Kumbakonam, Madurai and Virudhunagar, with about 300 eye donations every year, occupy the top slots in the State.