Following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Rajkumar, the family of Puneeth Rajkumar donated his eyes on Friday.
Soon after he was declared dead, Puneeth Rajkumar’s brother Raghavendra Rajkumar placed a request with Dr. Rajkumar Eye Bank run by Narayana Nethralaya to collect the actor’s eyes.
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K. Bhujang Shetty, chairman and managing director of Narayana Nethralaya, who personally monitored the eye retrieval process, told The Hindu that Dr. Rajkumar had pledged the eyes of his entire family during the inaugural function of the eye bank (which was named after him) in 1994.
“Even during their grief, the family has kept their father’s word and donated Mr. Puneeth’s eyes. They had donated the eyes of their mother, Parvathamma Rajkumar, too,” Dr. Shetty said. Pointing out that eye donations had reduced by 80% during the pandemic, he said, “We hope this gesture by the family will give a boost to eye donations and inspire others to donate.”
Although the Dr. Rajkumar Eye Bank has nearly 60,000 eye pledges, the number of people waiting for corneal transplants is only increasing by the day. “At Narayana Nethralaya itself we have around 100 patients waiting for corneal transplants. Eyes can be retrieved within six hours of death but earlier the better,” Dr. Shetty added.