August 15, 2009

Darkness to Light - a journey..Pledge your eyes ad lead the way - Let's all join in this noble cause

Thanks to my friend, Meeta Maheshwari for letting me make this post. Link to the original post (

Have you ever wondered what makes our life so beautiful, so meaningful, so enriching...what is it that makes every day with all it's toils so bearable and gives us the strength to keep going.......for some it is to see their children grow, for some it's the beauties of nature, for some it is to see their loved one's smile....the list is endless....these moments make life such a beautiful and seemingly unending journey..but to enjoy all these precious moments we need our 5 senses- seeing, hearing,smelling, speaking and touch....

but out of these it is the gist o' sight that defines our lives, our actions, our feelings....just imagine a life imprisoned in a dark room without a single window and listening to sounds of children laughing, people talking, life passing by....but without seeing them... frustrating isn't it.. would want to tear down those walls...won't you?????

But their some people who are imprisoned in this darkness not by walls but by the absence of the gift of BLINDNESS.Their are many causes for blindness, some being congenital, some acquired like injuries, infections, accidents, cataracts, glaucoma' all these cases some or the other part of eye stop functioning throwing people into the world of darkness.

Some of these causes like cataracts, corneal blindness, glaucoma's can be treated and these lucky people can enjoy the beautiful journey...out of these next to cataracts, corneal blindness has the highest chances of treatment success all that is needed is a donor corneas.

In India we have about 10 million blind people out of which 2 million suffer from corneal blindness easily treatable by corneal transplant...among these 2 million a massive 60% are children...and the number increases every year, as against an annual
corneal donation of a mere 40000

let me explain what is a cornea? does it function??..and how does corneal transplant work?

when you see your eyes in the mirror you see the white sclera in the middle of which u see a round coloured iris and a small dark pupil, but covering these two is a transparent layer of cells called "CORNEA"....light has to pass through all these structures to reach inside the eyeball and our retina and then the brain for us to see.If the cornea gets hazy, opaque or scarred light entering the eye is either distorted or blocked depending upon the damage...just imagine a smear on the lens of your camera while clicking a photo..what happens to the photo happens to what we see when the cornea gets damaged.

How does the cornea get damaged??...sometimes by accidents, injuries , chemical injuries, some infections like herpes can lead to severe corneal scaring etc.

How can we treat them and bring the sight back?? simple you remove the scarred cornea (like you would wipe your stained camera lens)..and replace it with a new one i.e. " CORNEAL TRANSPLANT"..easy as it takes a exquisite amount of expertise to perform the operation but the toughest part is to get a "DONOR CORNEA"..i.e a cornea from somebody who has donated it to the blind for transplant.

The process of corneal transplantation begins with :

a "DONOR" who fills a pledge my eye for donation form either, at a "EYE BANK" or a "Hospital"..where he gives his consent that after his death his eyes can be removed and used for transplantation purposes...he's then given a donor card which after the death of the person is given to the hospital, doctor or the eye bank....but even a pledged cornea cannot be taken without the consent of the relatives of the deceased ( a major hurdle..'cuz in their grief the relatives at times refuse).
another way of cornea donation is that some Hospitals have a "Hospital Corneal Retrieval Programme..wherein a terminally ill person and his relatives are counselled by counselors to donate their eyes after death.

Cornea needs to be procured within 6-8 hrs of death of the donor to be useful for transplantation after that they undergo timely information to the concerned doctors is very essential.

The procedure of corneal extraction need not take place in a hospital..eye banking teams come to the homes for extraction and the process takes just 2o minutes to complete so there are no hindrances or delayed in the last rites of the dead person and is an absolutely non mutilating surgery, the extracted cornea is replaced by an artificial cornea that their are no harms to the physical appearance of the deceased .

After extraction the corneas are examined for any infections like HIV, HepB , herpes etc and are graded according to their conditions over a spectrum of excellent to poor.The high grade corneas are used for transplant purposes and low grade for therapeutic purposes.They are stored in a preservative medium till they are transplanted.

WHO can donate?? any person above the age of 18 (those below 18 need the consent of parents or guardian's) not suffering from HIV,HepB,HSV or metastatic CANCERS, or any infectious eye disease can donate. To donate you can contact your nearest eye bank (plz check the Internet for eye bank near you) or any Hospital or Doctor and can get information about the process. Once you become a donor kindly inform and explain your discion to your relatives and requesting them to carry out your wishes.

By this small act you can make a persons life beautiful and this a way continuing the unending journey of life by seeing the world through another person's eyes.It doesn' cost you anything apart from few hours of your time to donate your cornea...we all love getting gifts we want don' we???...

How about gifting a blind person the gift he covets most out of life and God- The Gift of SIGHT.

Please Pledge your Eyes for donation.

(P.S. 25 Aug- 5 Sep is the eye donation fortnight, where in multiple camps are held for eye donation all over India.)

No comments: