A significant health issue that affects people all over the world is blindness. According to the WHO, at least 2.2 billion people worldwide have near or distant vision impairment. The leading causes of vision loss and blindness are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts, usually occurring in people over 50, although blindness can happen at any age.
In India, approximately 68 lakh people have corneal blindness in at least one eye. Out of these people, ten lakh people cannot see with either of their eyes. The National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey in 2019 reported that corneal blindness was one of the leading causes of blindness among patients aged less than 50 years within the country as it accounted for 37.5 per cent of the cases and was the second leading cause of blindness among patients who were above the age of 50.
Blindness and vision impairment can be caused due to various reasons including uncorrected refractive errors, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, corneal opacity, and trachoma. In most cases, blindness can be corrected or rectified through 'eye donation', which can happen if someone pledges to donate their eyes after death. In such instances, the eye is surgically removed and transplanted to the patients who need them through corneal transplantation. In this surgery, the damaged cornea of the blind person is replaced by the healthy cornea from the eye donor.
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Even though eye donation can help blind people get their vision back, many myths are related to the same. People must stop believing such myths because eye donation can help a person improve their eyes' functioning capacity. Ahead are five myths about eye donation that you should stop thinking about ASAP.
This is not true as nowhere has it been found that eye donation disfigures the face. In instances of eye donation, only the cornea is removed, which is then replaced by a shell so that it appears normal when the eyes are closed.
While many organs of the human body, like kidneys and liver, may be transplanted while a person is alive, the same cannot be said for the eyes. Eye donation is only possible after death, which is why it is incredibly vital that people sign up for donations so that their eyes can give vision to others, even after their passing.
This is quite a prevalent myth, but it is not true as cornea transplantation is only helpful for patients having opacity in their corneas (the front transparent part of the eye). These types of patients can be benefitted from eye donation, while others with blindness related to the retina or optic nerve cannot be helped through the same process.
Again, selling and buying any human organ in India is an illegal act and is punishable by law. Eye donation is a noble cause and is regulated by authorized bodies, which is why signing up for an eye donation is one of the most selfless tasks any person can do, especially when this process will only happen after their death.
This is not true, as eye removal surgeries take only about 10-15 minutes. It will not delay the funeral formalities in any way and will only help a patient suffering from cornea issues regain their vision.
In conclusion, eye donation is one of the noblest acts of service that any individual can undertake. It is one of the best gifts that can truly change the trajectory of a person suffering from vision issues. Hence it is critical to spread awareness and promote the cause of eye donation, especially among the population where awareness about the same is low or non-existent.
Cornea, Cataract & Refractive Surgeon