Organ donation has been struggling to find a firm foothold in our country. Though strongly recommended by many healthcare institutions, myths and superstitions cloud its path towards success. National Eye Donation Fortnight is the perfect time to reiterate the noble act of eye donation since it has become the need of the hour as eye related disorders have seen a drastic rise in the past decade due to exposure to mobile, TV and harmful pollutants.
Corneal blindness is the leading cause of visual loss and has been advancing in leaps and bounds, while cataract, glaucoma and diabetes remain the leading causes for treatable blindness. About 14, 474 eye donations which were done in the country in the past one year, Telangana accounted for maximum eye donations followed by states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Though the statistics are laudable, the need is to study the processes that these states have adopted and implement it nationwide. As there is a huge gap between demand and supply. Globally speaking, Sri Lanka is the biggest cornea supplier to the world, with a supply of approximately 3,000 corneas per year. The Sri Lankan Government has made it mandatory for its people to donate eyes after death.
Almost 20,000 new cases of eye blindness are added every year. The majority of blind people are young people who have lost their vision due to injuries, infections, deficiency of Vitamin A, malnutrition, and other factors. In order to promote the eye donation process, we need to have a comprehensive approach where the government, private sector, eye care services, doctors, NGOs and, in fact, every individual should work together through an awareness fortnight which begins on 25th August, marking the National Eye Donation Fortnight. Conducting surveys, investing in research related to eye transplants, awareness programmes and campaigns that inspire people to plan their life after death, to pledge to donate organs after death are some of the important features of the fortnight.
Apart from this, creating awareness of eye donation to a large number of people is the key to fulfill this critical need. We need to educate the people, both young and old, to finish the gap between demand and supply of the cornea. Actualities like, donation of a pair of eyes within six hours of death can benefit four persons since the cornea is used through a layering process. Masses should be aware of nearest eye bank or NGO which has tie-ups with eye banks.
Educating people and endeavors by busting myths around organ donation is the way to realize this united dream, that we can alleviate blindness and also restore vision.
Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala heads the non-profit organisation, Wockhardt Foundation, which runs several programmes in health, education, water and sanitation across India. He is also the Executive Director of Wockhardt Limited. An MBA from the prestigious Yale University in USA, he has won numerous awards and is associated with many social causes. He is also the Founder of “The World Peacekeepers Movement”, an online movement.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
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The CSR Journal Team