Want to donate your eyes? Know how!



The cornea is the clear, front window of the eye. It helps focus light into the eye so that you can see. The cornea is made of layers of cells. These layers work together to protect your eye and provide clear vision.





CORNEA DONATION

Almost anyone can donate their corneas. This small and simple part of the eye is hugely important for thousands, often saving the sight of patients for many years.


CAN I BE A CORNEA DONOR?

Your corneas could be invaluable. Most people are able to donate their corneas when they die. As with other tissue donations, even people who may be unable to donate their organs can usually become cornea donors. This is because not all of the restrictions that apply to organ donation are applicable to tissue donation. There is no age restriction for donating eyes, skin, or bone.


With more donors like you, we could be changing many more lives. Cornea transplants usually have a very good chance of success. Around 83% of transplants continue to function for many years.


The sooner that donation takes place, the better the outcome. But, your corneas can be donated up to 24 hours after you die.


PEOPLE CAN NEED A CORNEA TRANSPLANT FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS:


  • Disease or injury that has made the cornea cloudy or distorted, causing vision loss

  • Scarring of the cornea after infections such as cornea ulcer

  • Keratoconus

  • Age or inherited conditions that may lead to the cloudiness of the cornea in older people

  • Scarring caused by herpes


What about my religious beliefs?

No religion in the world condemns the art of giving. In fact, all religious leaders have unanimously decreed that charitable and voluntary giving to those in need is a great act of charity and kindness. All major religions either accept organ donation or allow the right of individual members to make their own decision. Most beliefs are in favor of organ donation as acts of charity and as a means of saving a life.

  • Hinduism: Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs at all. In fact, Hindu mythology includes stories in which parts of the human body are used for the benefit of other humans and society. To quote the Manusmriti, “Of all the things that it is possible to donate, to donate your own body is infinitely more worthwhile”. In fact, of the ten Niyamas (virtuous acts) Daan (selfless giving) is on number three, emphasizing its importance.

  • Islam: The majority of Islamic religious leaders accept organ donation during life (provided it does not harm the donor) and after death to save a life. It must be emphasized that the dead body is in no way defiled or mutilated by the act of eye donation. To quote the Quran, the Surat Al-Ma’idah [5:32] says: “And whoever saves one life it is as if he had saved entire humanity. “

  • Christianity: The command to “love your neighbor” was quoted by Jesus (Matthew 5:43), Paul (Romans 13:9) and James (James 2:8), it may be traced back to Leviticus 19:18. It implies that the majority of Christian leaders accept organ donation once the person is dead, and the process of harvesting the organ does not take away the life of the donor.

  • Buddhism and Jainism: Both these religions place great importance on compassion and charity, which are considered to be important Organ donation has been widely supported by the community leaders and monks of these religions. In fact, Buddhists consider it a great virtue of donating one’s own flesh for the sake of another.

  • Sikkhism: Sikh philosophy emphasizes the importance of giving and putting others before oneself, giving great merit to selfless giving and sacrifice. It is exemplified by the behavior of all the ten Gurus. For Sikhs, the greatest act of virtue is the act of saving a human life, and therefore donating organs after death has been advocated by all Sikh leaders.

Myths and beliefs about eye donation


Myth: Donating eyes will disfigure the face of the donor, with holes in the eye socket causing face disfigurement.

Fact: Not at all. Retrieval of eyes does not Eye donation does not cause any disfigurement of the face as a prosthetic is placed in the socket.


Myth: Donating eyes when I die in this life will mean I will be blind by birth in my next life.

Fact: Gifting sight to someone is an act of great virtue and charity, and this act can only be rewarded by a perfect vision in the next life if the law of karma is to be believed. This myth has no basis in religion or logic.


Myth: If I pledge my eyes, doctors will not try to save me when I am critically ill

Fact: Completely false. Every doctor is committed to saving lives, on oath. They will never jeopardize your life or health to potentially help another patient.


Myth: My family will be distraught with my decision to donate my eyes.

Fact: You will be surprised by how accepting and appreciative your loved ones will be of your choice, when you tell them you are thinking of donating your eyes in death. In fact, you will be admired for your nobility, and your action will inspire friends and family to pledge their eyes too. Also, remember you can donate your eyes even if you have a previous history of cataract surgery.


Myth: Eyes of Indian donors are not suitable for corneal transplant.

Fact: All eyes, irrespective of nationality, race, caste, creed, and religion, can be used for corneal transplantation. The eligibility of each eye of each person is assessed independently as per stringent guidelines, by a trained eye care professional. All donated eyes are used to their utmost, either for restoring vision and transplants or for research, which will eventually help millions of blind people.


Myth: Corneal transplantation is an experimental procedure, with poor success rates.

Fact: Corneal transplant is a routinely performed procedure the world over, and it has provided the gift of sight to millions of blind people around the globe. Of all the organ transplants, corneal transplants are known to be the most successful.


Myth: My donated eyes can be sold.

Fact: Eye donation is entirely voluntary. Selling or buying human eyes or any other organs is illegal and is a punishable offense under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA, 1994). Eye banks have to establish and document a system of distribution that is just, equitable and fair to all patients served by the eye bank. In fact, any cost involved with cornea retrieval is borne by the eye bank.


Myth: If I have pledged my eyes for donation, no further consents are necessary after my death.

Fact: Even if you have pledged your eyes for donation, the consent of your family members (next of kin) is essential for completing the process. Not only it is up to them to inform the eye bank of your death, but also to complete the necessary formalities before your wish to donate your eyes in the event of your death can be executed.


Myth: My eyes cannot be donated if I have not pledged them.

Fact: If your next of kin inform the eye bank in the event of your death, and express their wish to donate your eyes, your eyes will be retrieved by the eye bank personnel.


An appeal to all

Given the magnitude of corneal blindness in our country, we should come forward to pledge, and donate our eyes. We must overcome any superstitions, myths and wrong beliefs and try to make a positive impact on someone’s life. When we donate our eyes, we change someone’s life forever, for the better. The gift of sight is a gift which will never be forgotten and will earn for you eternal gratitude from someone who will see the world through your eyes, granting your eyes immortality.

Biomedical engineers and clinician scientists all over the world are working diligently to develop artificial corneas to provide sight to those who await corneal transplantation. But until this becomes feasible, the only hope for these patients, who are deprived of the gift of sight, is your largesse and ability to give. If each of us will donate our eyes in the event of our death, the menace of corneal blindness can be removed from our country, and indeed the world.



NETRAM is registered with HOTA (Human Organ Transplant Act) for cornea transplants. Register with us today and become a proud donor.


Please call at 01141046655, 01141086655, 9319909455 for Appointment/ Queries or more information.

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