National Eye Donation Fortnight: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

National Eye Donation Fortnight: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

Bajaj Finserv Health
August 22, 20227 mins read


The national eye donation fortnight 2022 theme is to make the public aware of the necessity of eye donation and participate in the charitable act of pledging for eye donation after their death! 

Key Takeaways

  • Eye donation fortnight is celebrated under the Control of Blindness National program
  • 12 million people in India require national eye donation
  • Your contribution to the national eye donation fortnight can enrich one's blind person life

The national eye donation fortnight in India is celebrated from August 25th to September 8th every year. These are the days when the general public is made aware of the need for eye donation after death. The national fortnight on eye donation is under the Control of Blindness National program. Doubtless, the gift of sight is invaluable and the most delicate of all sense organs. And the most profound disability considered is the impairment of vision. It is heartening to point out that not all people are blessed with this gift of sight. In most cases, blindness is irreversible. However, today, medical science has made such progress that it can even restore eyesight for many blind patients, who struggle daily to live because of vision damage.   

The purpose of the eye donation fortnight is to create social awareness and to fill the gap between the demand and supply of cornea. Lakhs of people in India are in the wait for a corneal transplant in order to restore their vision. But unfortunately, only a few thousands of such patients benefit, while most people suffer blindness due to a lack of eye donation by people after they pass away.  

Most blind patients are young people who lost their eyesight due to injuries, malnutrition, infections, congenital or other factors. Their eyesight can be revived through corneal transplantation only. The national eye donation fortnight aims to make the public participate in this charitable act of eye donation wherein they pledge to donate their eyes after death. However, people generally hesitate to donate their eyes as many myths and rumors are circulated among them regarding eye donating. And so, we have discussed here the five essential facts you ought to know before you pledge to gift your eyes. Read on to know. 

Additional Read: Yoga for eyes

The Magnitude of Blindness Is Huge 

It is estimated that 1/4th of the world's blind population lives in India, which includes not only elders or young people but many of whom are children. According to the World Health Organisation, In India, nearly 40 million people are sightless or visually impaired, out of which 1.6 million are children. It is also estimated that 12 million people in the country have corneal blindness, which can be cured through corneal transplantation. With these striking figures, some proposals of compulsion to eye donation after death are also coming up. National eye donation considers this a significant health concern as many people don't even know that they can cure corneal blindness by replacing the damaged or diseased corneal tissue with a donor.  

Though the skills and infrastructure required for corneal transplantation are readily available in India, lack of awareness and fear act as critical obstacles to eye donation. And so, national eye donation fortnight is celebrated in the country to encourage eye donation to the people who need corneal transplantation. 

Additional Read: Night Blindness: Symptoms, Causes and Preventive MeasuresNational Eye Donation Fortnight

How Can You Contribute to National Eye Donation Fortnight? 

Your contribution is what makes eye donation fortnight successful. To contribute to the national eye donation fortnight 2022, you need to pledge to donate your eyes. Pledging for eye donation is an impressive strategy to create awareness among your social groups. It can be done in any of the nearest registered eye banks, wherein you will be required to fill a form with all the crucial details such as name, address, age, blood group, and other personal specifics and sign the pledge. The eye bank then registers you as an official eye donor and provides you with an Eye Donor Card. You can also register your eye donation pledge on the Eye Bank Association of India website. 

By pledging, you are aware of the need for eye donation and other facets concerned with it. As you have to get a consent signature from any of your family members for pledging, the awareness regarding national eye donation further spreads to family and friends. Since you can donate eyes only after death, you must convey your decision to your family, as at the time of your death; they will be required to inform the eye bank of your pledge so that they can collect your eyes at the earliest. The heroic deed of donating eyes is done free of cost to offer the gift of vision to another individual and enrich their life. 

Additional Read: Nearsightedness (Myopia): Causes, Diagnose and Treatment

The Face of The Donor Remains Unaltered 

It is a common myth that eye donation disfigures the face of the donor. And this has become the most prominent barrier to eye donation as it can be seen in many cases that after the death of a registered eye donor, their family members refuse the eye bank to donate the eyes of the departed soul. So it is why national eye donation fortnight is celebrated to spread awareness against such misconceptions.  

The reality is that not the whole eye is removed, but cornea and removal of the cornea do not alter the appearance of the face. Also, after the cornea is removed, an apparent plastic prosthetic eye cap is positioned in the eye and gently closes the eyelids. So, it is to remember that the process of eyeball removal takes only 15-20 minutes, and neither will cause any disfigurement of the dead body nor will it cause any delay in the funeral arrangement. 

National Eye Donation Fortnight

Not Everyone Is Eligible for Eye Donating 

Everyone can contribute to eye donation fortnight by pledging to become an eye donor, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, age, sex, or blood group. People with eyesight problems like short or long-sightedness who use contact lenses or wear glasses can also pledge eye donations. In addition, people who have endured eye surgery can also become eye donors by simply endorsing the national eye donation fortnight 2022. 

However, checking a donor's medical history is crucial as some conditions disallow eye donation. These conditions include diseases like severe infectious problems such as active sepsis or hepatitis, HIV positive, or AIDS. Also, the advanced stages of diabetes that assign insulin deter a patient from being an eye donor. Therefore, patients suffering from severe forms of diabetes should avoid donating their eyes. Additionally, those with infectious diseases are not eligible to donate their eyes. 

Additional Read: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eyes): Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

Donation of Eyes Is Not Against Your Religious Beliefs 

Again a common misconception regarding eye donation is that it is against your religion. No, it is not. No religion on the earth criticizes the act of giving. All significant faiths either accept organ donation or allows the right of individuals to make their own decision. Most religions are in favor of organ donation as a noble deed as a means of saving a life. The national eye donation fortnight promotes awareness among individuals who think their religion condemns the act of eye donation. 

Manusmriti in Hinduism states, "Of all the things that it is possible to donate, to donate your own body is infinitely more worthwhile."  

In Islam, Quran states: "And whoever saves one life it is as if he had saved entire humanity. " 

The command in Christianity, "love your neighbor," is included by Jesus in Matthew 5:43, Paul in Romans 13:9, and James in James 2:8. You can also trace it from Leviticus 19:18. Which implies that the majority of Christian leaders accept the donation of organs once the person is dead. 

Both Buddhism and Jainism place a great emphasis on compassion and charity. Buddhists contemplate the great morality of donating one's flesh for the sake of other people. 

Remember, national eye donation fortnight is to make the public aware of the common misconceptions, fear, and the need for eye donation. You can involve in national eye donation by pledging irrespective of your age. The donation is performed only after the donor's death. Becoming a registered eye donor can enable you to save two lives. So, participate in the national eye donation fortnight 2022, do pledge, and become an eye donor today and save lives!

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Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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