ALL INDIA EYE DONATION FORTNIGHT
Once again Eye Donation Fortnight, 25 August to 8 September is here but the usual activities are limited due to the pandemic.
Roadside eye donation camps cannot be held because of restrictions against crowding. Many institutions are closed so eye donation awareness talks to NCC cadets, schools, colleges and other organizations cannot be planned. Drawing or essay competitions on the subject of eye donation cannot be organized.
During the pandemic the Eye Bank Association of India stopped collection of eyes donated from home. The safety of staff and recipients had to be considered. It was not wise for staff to go to unknown houses where sanitization may not be good. Before an eye was considered fit for transplant one had to ensure that the donor was not infected. As eyes have to be collected within six hours of death, Covid testing was not possible before enucleation. Therefore eyes could not be collected.
Hospital Cornea Retrieval Programme (HCRP) was also put on hold so that eye bank staff would not risk infection. Since home calls are not predictable, HCRP means that eyes are collected where there are many deaths, that is, in a hospital. Staff are deputed to a hospital to motivate the families of the deceased to donate the eyes of the person who has passed away. If they agree, the trained technician or doctor can remove the eyes and send them to the eye bank. A sample of blood is also collected for testing to ensure that no infection is transferred to the recipient. The death certificate has to be shown before eyes can be enucleated. A consent letter from the heir is required. The rules of the Eye Bank Association state that the names of the donor and recipient should not be revealed to the parties. Because most hospitals had Corona wards, and it was not wise to depute staff to go all over the hospital, HCRP was suspended.
The suffering of the blind still needs our concern. Those who have cataract can be cured with artificial lenses but those whose cornea has been damaged, have no hope of regaining their sight except through eye transplant.
Close your eyes for a minute. What do you see? Without sight, would you be able to live the life you are now living? If you can appreciate the plight of the blind, you will agree that it is important to make more people aware of the need for eye donation. Eye donation should become a family tradition.
Think of the plight of the blind. They have to depend on someone to earn money, someone to cook and bring food to them, someone to take them to the toilet or bath. Instead of burning or burying the eyes, if they are donated, they continue to shine in another man’s face. A helpless blind man will be self sufficient again. One day this pandemic will end. Then the work of eye collection and eye transplant can begin again. In the meantime, people must realize the importance of eye donation.
YOU CAN HELP. Talk to one person every day to convince them about the need for eye donation.
– Dr. Pronoti Sinha, Secretary, Bihar Eye Bank Trust