GURGAON: Despite a high accident-related death rate in the Millennium City, instances of cornea retrieval from accident victims remains minimal. The Niramaya Charitable Trust, which has been running Y.P. Mahindru Niramaya Eye Bank since 2007, has now taken up the matter with the district police administration seeking their cooperation in retrieving corneas from accidents victims with the consent of their relatives. “On an average, one person is killed in road accident in Gurgaon every day and most of them are young. Still the cornea retrieval rate is dismal and the reason is lack of awareness among the stakeholders. The cornea needs to be harvested within 6-7 hours of death, but most of the corneas are wasted due to delay in post-mortem. The delay is mostly in cases where the death occurs late in the evening or at night. So we took up the matter with Police Commissioner Alok Mittal to allow us to harvest the cornea even before the post-mortem,” said Y. P. Mahindru Niramaya Eye Bank medical director Hitendra Ahooja. This practice already exists in States like Andhra Pradesh and Maharasthra, said Dr. Ahooja, adding that it could be replicated in Gurgaon as well. “Eyes are preserved only in cases where the deceased has an eye-related injury, which is not the case most of the times. If the civil hospital doctor conducting the post-mortem allows the retrieval and the police give its consent, it can be done. There are no legal hurdles and even the Organ Transplant Act permits it.” Dr. Ahooja said the police can play another important role of talking to the deceased’s kin on whether they are interested in eye-donation and pass on the information to the hospital, Dr. Ahooja said: “Most of the people are interested. Also we have infrastructure in Gurgaon to preserve the cornea and transplant it. A little awareness is all that is required. At the national level too, the picture is dismal with just 30,000-odd transplants compared to two million patients.” Police Commissioner Alok Mittal has demanded that the trust give its request in writing and also attach papers showing that the practice is already in vogue in other States of India.