Giving light after life: villagers show the way

Since 2010, eyes of 46 persons donated

January 29, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:44 am IST - TUTICORIN:

Puthiamputhur, known as garment village, where people are engaged in making readymade garments, is now also famous for eye donation.

Since 2010, eyes of 46 residents of the village have been donated, according to R. Ponraj, president of Puthiamputhur panchayat.

In 2014, eyes of 14 persons, aged between 55 and 99 years, were donated.

Among them, 21 were men and the rest women, he said here on Wednesday.

Voluntary eye donation was made possible through a series of awareness programmes organised on the importance of eye donation.

M. Velraj, an organic farmer and relative of an eighty-year-old donor, said donating eyes after one’s lifetime was equivalent to offering a new lease of life for the visually challenged persons.

J. Ganesh, District Chairperson for Eye Donation, Lions Clubs International, said that over the last nine years he had harvested 3,188 pair of eyes in Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar and Kanyakumari districts and provided vision to around 6,000 people.

Initially, a girl student of A. P. C. Mahalaxmi College for Women, Tuticorin, sought his help to harvest the eyes of her grandmother, who resided in Puthiamputhur.

Meenakshi Ravindran of Aravind Eye Hospital, Tirunelveli, said that with the advent of technology, one pair of harvested eyes could possibly provide vision to four persons based on quality of cornea.

“Whenever our team gets a call, it rushes to the house, irrespective of the time, to remove the cornea within six hours. It could be preserved for up to three weeks before transplanting,” she said. On an average, one lakh corneas were required a year in India, but ophthalmologists could collect only about 25,000 to 30,000, she said.

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