We all know that there is a severe dearth of eye donors in India. The reasons are many, including a lack of awareness among general public, rigid traditional beliefs coupled with infrastructural barriers, which make this noble act an uphill battle. According to the recent statistics, there are more than 3.5 million corneally blind people in India, with 25000 new cases being added each year.
The patient line-up, cost of the surgical transplant in addition to unavailability makes it practically impossible for Indians living below the poverty line to be able to ever see again! This, therefore, brings focus to the pressing need of eye donation.
Explained below is a stepwise guide to help you pledge your eyes for donation:
Step 1 - Pledging your eyes
- Visit the nearest eye bank and pledge your eyes for donation by filling up a simple pledge form available there.
- Fill this form with all the necessary details like your age, address, contact details etc. Get it signed by atleast two witnesses and submit it back at the eye bank.
- Once the pledge form is verified, the eye bank will issue you a DONOR card carrying contact details of the eye bank.
- Always carry your donor card with you all the times, or keep it at a place where all the members of your family has access to it. Also, say 'yes' to eye-donation on your driving license.
- At the time of the donor's death, his or her relatives or friends, who were a witness for the pledge form, or any other family member who is aware of the deceased's intention to donate eyes, should call the nearest eyebankimmediately.
- An important thing to be noted here is that pledging your eyes for donation is merely 20 percent of the work done. The real onus of executing an eye donation lies on your family members! Hence, it is very important that you discuss your intention of eye donation with your family and relatives, because the actual decision of donating your eyes is ultimately made by your legal next-of-kin at the time of death.
Step 2 - Donating the eyes
- Regardless of whether the deceased has pledged his or her eyes or not, eye donation can still take place. The objective of pledging is only to create awareness and a reminder to us all to do this job.
- If a death happens in your family, pick up the phone and call your nearest eye bank. Remember, you as a family member bear the moral responsibility as well as the right to donate the deceased's eyes. Here are a few other noteworthy things that you must take care of:
- Obtain the valid death certificate as quickly as possible.
- Keep the eye lids of the deceased closed.
- Cover the closed lids with moist cotton wool.
- Switch off the fan (Switch on the air conditioner if possible)
- Raise the donor's head by 6 inches by placing two pillows under it.
- Make sure that the eyes are collected with 6 hours of death.
- One must always remember that death is an inevitable truth. By donating your eyes, you can rest a little easier knowing that even if you are not around, your kindness and benevolence will live on, as your eyes will give a new life to 2 blind persons.