Want to pledge your eyes? Know how Eye Donation Banks work!

Thu Jan 14 2021

According to WHO – at least 1 billion people globally have a moderate or severe distance vision impairment or blindness. In a lot of these cases, blindness can be prevented or treated. Today, advances in the medical field offers a lot of successful treatments that can help restore the vision.

What is the Eye Donation Procedure?

If you wish to donate your eyes, you have to pledge them and make close family members aware of your intentions. Eyes can only be donated after the pledger’s death (within 6-8 hrs of death), and the family members can inform the nearest eye bank & authorize the removal of the eyes. Eyes can’t be retrieved unless the donor’s family is fully aware and wishes to donate.

  • Upon the death of the donor, family members of the deceased have to call and inform on 1919 (special number allotted for eye banks) or the local number given for eye banks
  • The representative from the eye bank shares precautionary measures to be taken by the family until eye removal happens
  • The eye bank team visits the place of death and checks the death certificate to confirm the cause of death, medical history & social history to avoid the contradictions
  • Once everything is okay, the process of eye removal is done (usuaally takes 15-20 minutes); it doesn’t cause any disfigurement of the face of the donor

The donated eyes or cornea is then again examined at the eye bank, processed and stored for transplantation or eye surgeries

Who can donate Eyes?

Eye donation is a free service in the public interest, and there is no limit on age, gender or blood group to donate eyes! Anyone can do that.

This also includes people who use spectacles for short & long-sightedness or astigmatism or who have been operated for cataract. Even patients who have diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or any other non-communicable disease can donate their eyes and be a part of this noble cause.

The only contradictions for eye donation are with the people who suffer with AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, Rabies, Septicaemia, Acute Leukemia, Tetanus, Cholera, Meningitis and Encephalitis. Eyes can’t be donated if death is caused by drowning.

What is an Eye Bank?

Eye Bank is an organization (govt. or non-govt.) responsible for various activities around eye donation. They collect, process and store the donated eyes & the corneas that people voluntarily donate upon death. These eyes are later used for eye or corneal transplants by surgeons. Eye banks are usually associated with a hospital or are autonomous non-profit organizations that bring change in people’s lives by facilitating eye donation, research, and education. However, there is still a shortage of donated eyes or corneas across the world.

What are eye banking functions?

Eye banks function for the benefit of the society and take care of all the activities around eye donations (removal, processing, evaluation & distribution of eyes). They are covered under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994. The Government issues the certificate of registration and conduct regular inspections to avoid buying or selling organs. The Government can also take legal action against the eye bank in case of any complaints.

Let us look at some eye banking functions:

  • Collecting, evaluating and retrieving the donor’s eyes or corneas
  • Grading of the tissue and evaluating it
  • Processing eyeballs for storage & future use for the ones in need
  • Distributing corneal tissues to qualified transplant surgeons
  • Storing & distributing eye parts or tissues for research purposes
  • Imparting training on the latest techniques of corneal retrieval, preservation & utilization to the eye bank technicians, counselors and surgeons
  • Raising awareness about eye donations and demistifying the myths

Looking for an eye bank in Delhi?

Centre for Sight Eye Bank in Delhi is an advanced hospital facility with highly qualified surgeons. CFS encourages eye donations by bringing a change in the mindset of the society and aims to bring light into the lives of the people suffering from blindness. Centre for Sight eye hospitals have advanced surgical and diagnostic technology and best-in-class equipment for the most effective eye transplants.

Article: Want to pledge your eyes? Know how Eye Donation Banks work!
Author: CFS Editorial Team   |   Jan 14 2021 | UPDATED 03:20 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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