75% of eye patients lose out on vision restoration per year

Every year, around 75,000 of people with corneal blindness in India are missing out on the opportunity to regain vision. Reason? Shortage of donated corneas. Of the approximately one lakh patients with the eye disease, only about 25,000 undergo corneal transplantation.

Specialist doctors at L.V. Prasad Eye Hospital (LVPEI) say the current cornea collection in India is able to cater to only one-fourth of the patients in need of corneal transplant surgeries. They have urged people to take a pledge to donate their eyes after death.

60% patients under 12

Speaking about the magnitude of the issue, they said of the 10 million people with blindness in India, over two million are affected by corneal blindness and 60% of them are below the age of 12. The reason could be corneal disease, injury or infection.

“Only an eye donation from a deceased person can help restore the sight of a corneally blind person. Lack of awareness, myths and fears associated with eye donation are responsible for people not donating their eyes,” the specialist doctors said.

Awareness needed

As part of the ‘National Eye Donation Fortnight’ observed every year from August 25 to September 8, LVPEI would organise a series of activities across its network centres to raise awareness about eye donation among the masses.

Sunita Chaurasia, medical director–The Ramayamma International Eye Bank, LVPEI, said, “We urge people to come forward and pledge for eye donation. Equally important is that such prospective donors share their pledge and will to donate their eyes with their family members, and request them to execute the same after their death. Eye donation is possible only after the death of a person and with the consent of their family members.”

The Ramayamma International Eye Bank crossed the milestone of one lakh cornea collections in 2019. Besides using the corneas for performing corneal transplant surgeries within LVPEI, the institute also distributes corneas to surgeons outside the network.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 7:36:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/75-of-eye-patients-lose-out-on-vision-restoration-per-year/article36069262.ece

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