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World Organ Donation Day: How Can You Brighten Someone's Life by Donating Eyes?

Thousands patients, who are battling between life and death due to organ failure and are waiting for a transplant.

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World Organ Donation Day is celebrated on 13 August every year around the world. The purpose behind celebrating Organ Donation Day is also to make people aware about the importance of organ donation and encourage them to take a pledge.

Every year in our country more than 5 lakh people die due to not getting organs on time. And it is said that a person can give new life to at least 8-10 people by donating an organ.

There are thousands of such patients in the country, who are battling between life and death due to some organ failure and are waiting for an organ transplant.

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On the occasion of World Organ Donation Day, the doctors of Shroff Eye Charity Hospital have answered important questions related to eye donation.

What is meant by eye donation/eye donation?

After the death of a person, his eyes can be donated. By which he can give light to the eyes of a person who cannot see.

Who can donate eyes?

Anyone above two years of age can donate eye. There is no age limit for eye donation. People who wear glasses, have had cataract surgery, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure can also donate their eyes.

Before the eye tissue is transferred, a detailed medical history is observed to avoid transmission of serious infection to the recipient. Apart from this, any normal healthy person can take a pledge to donate eyes.

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What is an Eye Bank?

An eye bank is an establishment, which can be a government or non-government organization. It is responsible for collecting and processing the voluntarily donated eyes (cornea) of a person until their use. The eye (cornea) donated by a donor is kept in the eye bank.

The organization works towards the mission of eye donation.

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What are the functions of an Eye Bank?

The five major functions of an eye bank are:

1. Raising awareness about eye donation

2. Receiving donated eye after donors pass

3. Processing the eye tissue

4. Correct testing of donated eyes

5. Distributing donor's eye to the needy person maintaining quality assurance

What is the right time to donate eyes? What are the instructions for family members and guidelines for eye donation?

Eye donation should be done within 6-8 hours of death.

Here are the guidelines:

  • With the donor's eyes closed, place wet cotton wool over the eyelids (to keep the cornea moist and healthy).

  • Switch off the room fan/AC

  • lift the dead person's head off the pillow

  • Call 1919 to reach nearest certified eye bank center

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  • 10 cc of blood is taken from an eye donor. A blood sample is collected from the donor to test for HIV/Hepatitis B, C and syphilis.

  • Keep the death certificate of the deceased person ready

  • Eye donation process only takes 20 minutes

  • Donated eyes are never sold or used in any other way

  • One eye donation/eye donation can benefit two cornea blind persons

  • Eye donation is done with the written consent of the family

  • The cornea must be preserved for 96 hours

Who can give consent for eye donation?

Families can give consent for donation with the consent of the donor. A donor card can serve as a signal to legal representatives and hospitals that you want to become a donor. Registration can be done using the form found on the website of Banks Association of India. Anyone can express their desire for eye donation by visiting any eye bank near them.

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How does an Eye Bank work?

Eye banks are affiliated with eye hospitals that have a trained corneal department, such as Shroff Charity Hospital, where trained corneal surgeons perform transplant surgeries. HOTA-approved corneal centers should be used for eye donation.

The government has enacted the HOTA, or Human Organ Transplantation Act, which regulates and allows the removal of the kidney, heart, liver and cornea for transplantation in the event of death from any cause. And for the eyes, there is now a separate regulation, called the THOTA regulation, for the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissue Act.

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How to register for eye donation?

Anyone can pledge for eye donation and donate by dialing 1919, a toll-free number, which connects to the nearest registered eye bank in the country. At present, there are around 760 registered eye banks in India, out of which 250 are active.

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