University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Do you know that we can light the life of a blind person by donating our eyes after our death?
In India, we have an estimated 4.6 million people with corneal blindness that is curable through corneal transplantation made possible by eye donation. More than 90% of the corneal transplantation is carried out successfully and helps restore vision in people with corneal blindness. Corneal transplantation in infants born with cloudy cornea can make a big difference to their lives.
The C U Shah Eye Bank at SANKARA NETHRALAYA operates 24 hours throughout the year. Through our Eye Bank, we obtain, evaluate and distribute eyes received as donations for use in corneal transplantation, research and education. We do this with utmost care taking into account patient safety by adopting strict medical standards. Eyes which cannot be used for corneal transplantation are used for research and education purposes.
Please call the C U Shah Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai at 28281919 (Hotline for Eye Donation) / 28271616 as eyes have to be removed within six hours after death.
Some frequently asked questions
Who can be eye donors?
Anyone from the age of one. There is no age-limit for donating the eye. All one needs to do is bequeath his or her eyes by taking a simple pledge to donate the eyes after death. While taking a pledge during ones lifetime itself is a noble deed, it requires the support of the relatives or friends to carry out the wishes of eye donation of the deceased. People using spectacles and those diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension can donate their eyes.
Can the next of kin consent to a donation if the deceased person has not signed an eye donation form?
Yes, the relatives of the deceased can decide on donating the eyes of their beloved one.
Whom should we contact to donate eyes?
Eyes need to be removed within six hours after death and so it is important to get in touch with your nearest eye bank at the earliest.
Please remember the following after making the call to the C U Shah Eye Bank at Sankara Nethralaya
Keep the eyes of the deceased closed and covered with moist cotton. Switch off the ceiling fan, if any, directly over the deceased person If possible, apply antibiotic eye drops periodically in the deceased’s eyes to reduce the chance of any infection. Raise the head of the deceased by about six inches, if possible, to reduce the chances of bleeding at the time of removal of the eyes Who cannot donate their eyes?
Death due to unknown causes. People who die due to infections such as rabies, syphilis, infectious hepatitis, septicemia, and AIDS, cannot donate.
What is a cornea?
The cornea is the clear, transparent layer in front of the “black portion” of the eye. It is also the main focusing surface, which converges light rays as they enter the eye to focus on the retina. It is thus the most important part of the optical apparatus of the Eye. Loss of transparency directly results in loss of vision
How does a cornea become opaque?
Iatrogenic (Malpractice, Improper Post-operative care after any eye surgery)
What is corneal transplantation?
A Corneal transplant is an operation that replaces the opaque cornea with a clear cornea obtained from a human donor.
Are there any religious conflicts in eye donation?
There are no religious conflicts on eye donation. Eye donation gives a gift of sight to others. As such, it is consistent with beliefs and attitudes of all major religious and ethical traditions.
Will eye donation cause delays in funeral arrangement?
No, it has to be performed within six hours and leaves no disfigurement that will interfere with common funeral practices.
Is the whole eye of the donor transplanted?
No, only the cornea is transplanted. However, the rest of the eye is used for research and education purposes.
Can a person who is blind due to retinal or optic nerve disease donate his eyes?
Yes, provided the cornea of the donor is clear.
Can a living person donate his eyes?
No, donation from living persons is not accepted.
Will the recipient be informed of the donor’s details?
No, the gift of sight is made anonymously.
Are there any dedicated telephone numbers for calling the Eye Bank for eye donation?
Yes. In Chennai, we have a dedicated 28281919 where we can be contacted any time. As your call, expressing your desire to donate the eyes of a loved one, is very important to us, our Eye Bank works 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Family members of the deceased persons can contact us on this phone number
How long will you take to reach?
Our team is trained to leave the hospital within 15 minutes from the time of the call and depending on the distance, will reach within a maximum of one hour.