Ojas Eye Hospital in Bandra, Kandivali, Mumbai

Cornea Transplantation

September 10, 2020

Cornea Transplantation – From darkness to light:

Cornea is the transparent front surface of the eye.  IT is an important optical structure through which rays of light enter the eye.  Any damage or Injury to this delicate structure can lead to permanent loss of corneal transparency or in other words cause clouding & opaciflication thereby preventing the entry of light rays into the eye & diminishing vision. In case of severe degree of damage this can cause total loss of vision making the person visually handicapped due to corneal blindness. It is estimated that there are around 2 million people in India suffering from corneal blindness. Out of these, 60% of total number of corneal blindness cases include children under age 12 due to accidental or occupational injuries. Injuries contribute to major cause of permanent damage to cornea. There are other conditions also such as malnutrition, Vitamin A deficiency, infection, certain corneal diseases such as Keratoconus, Corneal degeneration, which can cause corneal blindness.

Corneal transplantation/Keratoplasty/ corneal grafting is the surgical procedure done in patients suffering from corneal blindness in order to restore sight. In this surgical procedure the diseased opaque cornea is replaced by a clear healthy donor corneal tissue which restores sight by allowing the light rays to enter the eye through transplanted clear cornea. This procedure of corneal grafting is possible only on the availability of donor cornea by process of eye donation. By donating eyes after death one human being can restore sight to a blind person. This gift of sight is invaluable in these visually handicapped persons.

Eye donation is possible only after death. It can be done by any person of any age, sex, caste, religion. People who wear glasses or have undergone an eye surgery can also donate. People of any age group can pledge to donate his/her eyes after death. Even if one has not pledged the relative can give their consent for the donation of the eyes of the diseased.

Donate eyes to help someone in dark to see the light

Eye Donation: Why, How, Where, by Whom

Why Eye Donation?:

Eye Donation is the only way to give sight to more than 25 lacs blind Indians who suffer from defective cornea, Out of whom more than 60% are children below the age of 12 years. This number keeps on increasing every year.

Eye Donation allows each and every one of us a chance to perform social good. It costs us nothing and makes no demand on our time. There is no shortage of potential donors. All that needs to be done is a timely request and quick eye collection service.

Our eyes, the useless commodity that we burn or bury after death, can be reacyled into the priceless gift of vision for lacs of our corneally blind fellows.

In case the donated cornea is found out to be not good enough for vision. It can still be used for emergency patching up of defective corneas. This can save a patient’s eye until a healthy cornea  becomes available.

Who Can Donate?:

Eye can be donated by any person of any AGE-SEX-CASTE-RELIGION as also those who wear glasses or have undergone cataract or any other eye operations.

Eyes can be donated even if they have not been pledged earlier.

Where can it be donated?:

The donor need not be taken to the eye bank. The team working for Eye Donation movement comes to receive the eyes from wherever the donor is, at no cost. The donor’s face is not disfigured because of enucleation.

Eye can be enucleated preferably within six to eight hours of death.

How Donated Eyes are Utilised:

After enucleation the eyes are sent to the Eye Bank Co-ordination & Research Center for evaluation and further distribution. The eyes are evaluated by trained technicians as per the international standards.

The deserving blind patients are called in accordance with the waiting list. Even emergency cases are dealt with in conformity with the guidelines prescribed.

Our eyes after our life can be useful to someone

Eye Donation: Facts and Misbeliefs

  • Anyone can be a donor irrespective of age caste creed religion sex or blood group.
  • Eye donation costs nothing. It is absolutely free of charge.
  • The process of enucleation of eyes can be completed within 30 minutes.
  • The family members of the deceased can give consent to the donation of the eyes of the deceased donor, even though the deceased donor had not pledged the eyes earlier.
  • Only thin transparent layer in front of the iris, called the cornea, is used for transplantation.
  • Corneas do not have any direct blood supply. Therefore eyes can be enucleated up to six hours of death. To get good quality of eye balls sooner enucleation after death is always preferable.
  • The quality of corneas can be maintained by covering the closed eyelids with moist cotton wool.
  • Enucleation  of eyes do not cause disfigurement of face. The vacuum created due to removal of eye balls is filled in by cotton and covered by a cap below the eyelids.
  • Many people have a wrong notion that if eyes are removed from the body of the deceased the person will become blind in the next birth. If we believe it to be true, can we not achieve moksha by donating the entire body so that we need not take another birth?
  • Spectacle wearers and people suffering from systemic disorders like diabetics, hypertensives, asthma can also donate eyes.
  • Corneas of persons suffering from AIDS, jaundice, rabies, syphilis, tetanus, septicemia and viral diseases are considered unfit for donation.

Let your eyes change someone’s life

  • Corneas which are for some reason unfit for translations are in valuable for research.
  • Transplants help only when the loss of sight is solely due to corneal defect and the rest of the eye’s mechanism is intact.
  • A person wishing to donate the eyes after death must inform such inclination to the members of family, neighbors, acquaintance and friends.
  • It there is a death in the family or friend circle, all that need to be done is to motivate the relatives and convince them for consenting to eye donation of the deceased.
  • If many so happen that the relatives who are in state of deep grief may not be in a position to think of eye donation, when each and every one of us can play a vital role by reminding them to grab the opportunity of gifting sight to two blind persons.
  • Just make a phone call to the social worker in the nearby vicinity informing about the death and the place, and the rest will be taken care of by the team working for the noble cause.
  • Keeping at a handy place the panel list of social workers of Yuvraj Eye Donation Movement can be useful for contacting them.

Till the Eye Donation Team Arrives:

  • Obtain the vital death certificate quickly and if possible the photocopy ready
  • Close the eyelids
  • Cover the closed eyelids with moist cotton wool.
  • Switch off the fan and if available switch on the air conditioner.
  • Raise the donor’s head by about six inches by placing two pillows under it.

Frequently asked Questions & their Answer

Que. : Is it necessary to pledge before death to donate eyes?

Ans. :  It is a wrong notion that you require a consent from signed prior to death for eye donation. We only require willingness and consent from the next of kin and relative of the deceased. If you intend to donate your eyes after death in form your wish to all your relatives and friends and family physician.

Que. : Is eye-donation a complicated and long procedure?

Ans. : Removing eye balls is a simple procedure which takes about 20 minutes only. It does not come in the way or delay funeral preparations. Very often it happens that, family willing to donate eyes, in the wrong fear of delay in funeral’ puts off eye donation, but sparing this little time can give light to at least two blind dark lives.

Que. : Does eye donation affect the rebirth life etc. ?

Ans. : There is no relation between body (which is done away with) and soul (which is immortal). Donating eyes (Part of your body) will enable the blind to see and you will earn blessings from that person and God. This act has nothing to do with the lives and karma of both the donor and the recipient.

Que. : Are the eye balls used immediately?

Ans. : Eye balls, after removal are transported in an ‘Ice cold’ container to the nearest eye bank within 3-4 hours. Certain mandatory tests are done there. Then it can be preserved in MK medium for 4 days and in optical solution till 14 days. But since the waiting list of blind people wanting to receive cornea is many times more than the number of eye balls received the cornea is given for transplant on the same or next day. One dead person’s eye donation can give light to two lives and happiness to two families.

Que. : Should eyes be removed within 30 minutes after death?

Ans. : Eye donation has an urgency and eyeballs should better be removed within 2-3 hours after death. But with proper precautions and care (mentioned later) eye balls remain good and useable if removed as late as 6 hours. The best way is to contact eye bank personally immediately after death – Dial 1919 in Mumbai.

For Eye Donation – call: Special Helpline 1919 or 4922897

Que. : Does the face get disfigured after eye donation?

Ans. : Removal of eyeballs does not disfigure the face of the dead body. Cotton is pushed into the empty space and a plastic cap is put below the eye lids restoring the natural look as if person is fast asleep.

Que. : Should the blood group of recipient and donor match?

Ans. : Blood Groups of donor and recipient of eyeball need not be the same as only cornea is usually used for transplant. AIDS, Hepatitis B is checked in the blood sample collected from the donor’s body.

Que. : Does cataract and wearing spectacles hinder eye donation?

Ans. :  Persons with spectacles of cataract can also donate eyes.

Que. : Is only cornea of donated eye useful?

Ans.:  Mainly cornea is used but in addition sclera is also used. Eyeball is also used for research and training. So no eyeballs go waste.

Que. : Has the body to be taken to a hospital?

Ans. : Eye donation can be done at home. Doctor comes to the donor’s home and removes eye balls with simple procedure.

Que. : Does anyone have to spend for the eye donation.

Ans. : Eye donation procedure is totally Free. The donor’s Family has nothing to lose or spend. The person receiving the eye Donation also does not pay for the eye ball.

Que. : Is the transplanted cornea rejected by the body of recipient?

Ans. : Rejection of cornea is very rare as there is no direct blood supply to the cornea. Right medication can take care of rejection in most cases.

Que. : Do you have to donate eyes only where you have pledged?

Ans. : You can donate eyes in any eye bank may not be the same where you have pledged in your donor card.

Que. : Who can donate the eyes?

Ans. anybody from infant to an old man can donate eyes. Age, Cast, Religion, Blood group etc. does not come in way of eye donation.

Help someone to see the world – donate eyes

For Eye Donation – call : Special Helpline 1919 or 4922897

For more detail click here

Ojas Eye Hospital A Center of Excellence for Contoura Vision, Femto Bladefree Lasik in Mumbai, India.