‘Close to 10 lakh people lost vision due to corneal blindness’

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 22, 2018

The Eye Bank Association, which was started as a tiny spark by a few dedicated individuals twenty-five years back has now blossomed into a full-fledged country-wide movement.

However, a look at the data on eye donation is a grim reminder of the immensity of the task.

Over 10 million are said to be blind in the country at present and the numbers turning blind rising by 25,000 to 30,000 year on year.

Close to 10 lakh of those that have lost their vision suffer from corneal blindness and nearly 25 per cent of them are children, says Anita Raghavan, Director (Eye Bank) and Medical Consultant (Cornea and Refractive Surgery Department), Aravind Eye Hospital, Coimbatore.

Aravind Eye Hospital Eye Bank in Coimbatore was started in 1998. In its first year of operation, the bank received 162 pairs of donor eyes. This rose to 1,687 in 2014.

Informed sources say that there are over 235 eye banks (registered with Eye Bank Association) in the country at present.

Anita says that the annual requirement is around two lakhs but the bank receives only about 35,000 to 40,000 pairs of donor eye every year and not all of the donated tissue could be put to use

As the number of number of eye donations increase, the focus has turned to acquisition of better quality tissue for better outcome.

"One strategy to help achieve this is establishment of hospital cornea retrieval programme. We have at Aravind Hospital conducted three such programmes at various hospitals in the last six months," says Anita adding, a lot more needs to be done.

Published on September 05, 2015

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