Each person who donates hisher eyes can be a saviour for at least four, say doctors and activists working to promote eye donation.
Cornea surgeon Dr Yathish Shivanna, who has performed over 1,000 lamellar (involving selective layers) transplants in eight years, said, “On some days I have no surgeries because of zero eye donations. Around 300 people die in and around Bengaluru every day but the number of donations is miniscule.”
“We do not use the entire cornea on a single recipient unless the eye is completely damaged. It’s a norm to split the cornea into different layers to give sight to more than two persons. Extreme precision is required to conduct the procedure,” explained Shivanna.
With the National Eye Donation Fortnight being observed from August 25 to September 8, Narayana Nethralaya and its two eye banks have begun special drives. Around 200 persons have pledged their eyes so far. K Bhujang Shetty , chairman and managing director, Narayana Nethralya said, “People should get rid of the fear which stops them from donating eyes.”
Zooming in on Cornea
Corneal blindness is like the glass cover of a watch. If it is cracked, you cannot see the time. It’s the glass that needs to be replaced, not the entire watch. Lamellar corneal transplant involves transplanting different layers of the cornea. Most often, it’s the thick layer that is transplanted.