What is an eye bank?

An eye bank is a crucial institution dedicated to the preservation and distribution of donated corneas, specifically focused on restoring vision. An eye bank plays a vital role in procuring and meticulously evaluating corneal tissues from deceased donors, making them available for transplantation to those in need. By facilitating corneal transplants, eye banks bestow the gift of sight upon individuals suffering from corneal issues.

Corneal Blindness 

Addressing the pressing issue of corneal blindness is paramount, especially considering its significant contribution to global visual impairment. Among the estimated 2.2 billion visually impaired individuals worldwide, a substantial 4.2 million are afflicted by corneal blindness, underscoring its profound impact on global blindness statistics. Corneal blindness refers to a condition where individuals experience reduced or compromised vision due to the loss of transparency or distortion of the cornea’s shape, while their retina and optic nerve functions remain predominantly healthy.

One remarkable solution to combat corneal blindness is through cornea donation or eye donation. In India, this noble act holds the potential to transform lives by restoring vision to those who have lost it due to corneal diseases or injuries. At Centre for Sight, we are committed to promoting and facilitating eye donation to combat preventable blindness.

Eye Donation in India

Eye donation in India operates through a well-organized network of eye banks and hospitals dedicated to preserving and transplanting corneas. When you decide to donate your eyes, you become instrumental in bringing light to the lives of those suffering from corneal blindness.

Eligibility for Eye Donation:

  • Age: Donors should generally be between the ages of 1 to 80 years.
  • Medical History: A donor’s medical history should not include certain infectious diseases or conditions that could affect the suitability of the donated eyes.
  • Eye Condition: Donors should ideally have healthy eyes with clear corneas, although some eye banks may accept corneas with specific conditions, subject to evaluation.

The Pledging Process: Pledging one’s eyes for donation is a simple yet profound commitment. Interested individuals can register as eye donors through various platforms, including eye banks, hospitals, and online registration portals. During the pledging process, donors provide their consent to donate their corneas upon their demise.

Post-Pledging and Donation: After pledging, when a donor passes away, their family or a designated representative should promptly inform the nearest eye bank or a relevant authority. A team from the eye bank will then visit the donor’s location to retrieve the corneas. The procedure is conducted with utmost care and respect, ensuring no disfigurement to the donor’s body. After retrieval, the corneas are preserved and made available for transplantation.

Eye donation is an act of incredible compassion that offers the gift of sight to those in need. It not only transforms the lives of recipients but also contributes to the advancement of ophthalmic research and education. At Centre for Sight, we actively encourage individuals to pledge their eyes and play a crucial role in alleviating corneal blindness in India. Through our dedicated eye banks and compassionate team, we are committed to ensuring that every donated eye is utilized to its fullest potential, bringing light and hope to countless lives across the nation. Join us in the mission to eliminate preventable blindness and make a lasting impact through eye donation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost to Donate an Eye?

Eye donation is typically free, as it is considered a gift to help restore vision and improve the quality of life for others in need.

How Do You Become an Eye Donor?

To become an eye donor, you can register with a local eye bank or indicate your wish to donate on your driver’s license or identification card.

What Happens When You Donate Your Eyes?

When you donate your eyes, the corneas are surgically removed, processed, and stored in a sterile manner until they are needed for transplantation.

What Are the Rules for Eye Donation?

Rules for eye donation vary by country and organization but generally include being of legal age, having clear consent, and being free from certain infectious diseases.

What Is Eye Bank Management?

Eye bank management involves overseeing the operations of the eye bank, including donor recruitment, tissue recovery, processing, storage, distribution, and quality assurance.

Who Created the First Eye Bank in the World?

The concept of eye banking is attributed to Dr. Eduard Konrad Zirm, who performed the world’s first successful corneal transplant in 1905. In India, Late Dr RES Muthiah started the very first eye bank and the first corneal transplantation took place successfully by him in 1948.

What Are the Three Tiers of Eye Bank?

The three tiers of an eye bank include recovery centers, processing centers, and distribution centers.

What Does an Eye Bank Do?

An eye bank collects, evaluates, processes, and distributes donated eye tissues for corneal transplantation, research, and education.

What is eye donation?

Eye donation refers to the process of pledging to donate one’s eyes after death. Donated eyes are used for corneal blind patients to restore their vision. It is a voluntary act done for the benefit of the society, which causes no harm to the sentiments and religious faiths of the deceased’s family. In the best possible scenario, donated eyes of one person can help to rebuild the vision of two individuals in need. Centre for Sight eye bank in Delhi is where you can register yourself for eye donation and provide the gift of sight to a person in need.

Who is eligible to donate eyes?

  • Eyes can be donated by anyone after death irrespective of age, sex, or blood group
  • People with short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism, and post-surgery like cataract are also eligible for an eye donation. The cornea is not affected by these eye problems.
  • Lifestyle diseases like diabetics, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and asthma which are not communicable still allow one to donate her/his eyes.
  • Diseases which make one ineligible to donate eyes are HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, rabies, septicemia, acute leukaemia, tetanus, cholera, meningitis, or encephalitis.
  • In the present scenario, a person who dies after COVID19 (coronavirus) infection is not eligible for eye donation. This guideline is liable to change depending upon the results of ongoing researches.
  • Eyes unfit medically for the donation are utilized for medical research and studies.

How can you pledge to donate the eyes?

The process requires you to fill a form, available in all major eye hospitals and eye banks. The form is also available online on the official website of the Eye Bank Association of India. It is also important to inform your family members or legal representative about the decision. In such cases, a donor card can be provided to be used at the time of actual eye donation. Eyes can be donated with the consent of the family members if the eye bank is informed after the demise of the donor. Our eye banks in Delhi aim to bring light into the lives of people who have corneal blindness.

How does a cornea transplant restore sight?

The substitute of a cornea is another human cornea. Donating a healthy human cornea can bring light to someone’s life.

Why should I donate my eyes?

Donated eyes are preserved in eye banks. They are used for someone who requires a healthy cornea. Eye donation in Delhi is simple as Centre for Sight has its eye bank in the city to help you perform this act of charity.

Is the whole eye used for transplantation?

No, only the cornea is used for the transplantation. Centre for Sight is there for you if you decide for eye donation in Delhi.

Can I donate my eyes?

Yes, anyone can donate their eyes. People who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses can also donate their eyes since these conditions do not affect the cornea. Contact us if you want to donate your eyes, our eye bank in Delhi is there for corneal transplantation.

What happens if donated eyes are unsuitable for the transplant?

This happens rarely, but, if the donated eyes cannot be used for the transplantation, then it can be used for the research and education purposes.

How much time does the process of eye donation take?

The process of eye donation includes procuring a cornea of a deceased by trained personnel takes approximately 20-25 minutes. Centre for Sight eye bank in Delhi makes this process easy for you. Contact us if you wish to donate your eyes.

Does blood group matching is required?

No, blood group matching is not mandatory for a cornea transplant.

How successful is the corneal transplantation?

Over 95% of corneal transplantations successfully restore the recipients vision.

How does research and education benefit from eye donation?

Donated eyes help in research for a better understanding of the cause and effect of many eye-related diseases like Corneal dystrophies, other corneal pathologies, glaucoma and lifestyle diseases. Give us a call to know the process of eye donation in Delhi.

How are donated eyes used in restoring vision?

Eyes donated by one person provides the gift of vision to two blind persons, generally. However, nowadays, component surgery of the cornea uses just a layer of the cornea for transplantation, which allows one eye donation to restore the vision of many patients. Eye banks in India maintain a record of all the donated eyes and make sure all of them are used. Eyes fit for corneal transplant restores the vision and others are used for further research in the field.

What is corneal transplantation?

Corneal transplantation is a surgery that includes the replacement of the defective cornea with a healthy cornea received by the eye donation. Eye donation in Delhi is simple as many institutions help you do this act of charity and kindness. Centre for Sight is also one of the places for eye donation in Delhi.

How to make contact for eye donation in India?

The helpline number for eye banks in India is 1919, which is toll-free and available 24×7. It helps in eye donation as well as related information.

What precautions are to be taken by relatives?

  • Eyes of the deceased should be closed, or moist cotton can be placed over the eyes.
  • To reduce the bleeding during eye collection, raise the donor’s head about six inchespill
  • ff all the fa
  • Cover the deceased’s forehead with an ice pack or polythene filled with ice cub
  • To prevent eye infection, instil antibiotic eye drops at regular intervals
  • Notify the eye bank at the earliest.

What is the procedure of eye collection?

When the eye bank is informed about the demise of the donor, a team of an eye doctor, a grief counsellor, and trained staff is sent to the deceased’s place or a hospital. The team will take the written consent of the family before processing the request for donation. Also, questions about medical history are asked. With great efficiency and under strict aseptic precautions, eyes are collected in privacy, taking approximately 20 minutes. The affected area over the eyes is restored carefully.

What are the possible complications or disfigurement during eye collection?

There is temporary bleeding in the eye socket from where the eyes are collected if the whole eyeball is obtained. The medical team works with high precision; eyes are properly closed to save any disfigurement. There is another method where instead of the whole eyeball, only the cornea is procured, which is later replaced by a plastic cornea which causes no disfigurement.

What is the average time of transplanting the donated cornea?

The aim is to transplant procured corneal tissue as soon as possible after the assessment by an eye bank. Depending upon the method of the preservation, tissue can be transplanted safely up to a week.

How do I ensure that the donated eyes will be used as mentioned?

Eye donation is a legal act. All eye banks are registered and operate under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994. The government takes strict actions in case of any complaint against the eye bank.

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