National Eye Donation Fortnight

National Eye Donation Fortnight Information

National Eye Donation Fortnight is observed every year from 25th August to 8th September. It is a campaign which aims to create mass public awareness about the importance of eye donation and to motivate people to pledge their eyes for donation after death.

Blindness is one of the major public health problems in the developing countries. According to World Health Organization (WHO), corneal diseases (Damage to the tissue covering the front of eye called cornea) are among the major causes of vision loss and blindness, after cataract and glaucoma.

In most cases, loss of sight can be corrected through “Eye Donation” After the death of a person, various organs can be donated and can be surgically transplanted to the patients who need them. One such organ is the eye. By donating eyes after death, a corneal blind person can see again through a surgical procedure known as corneal transplantation, where by the damaged cornea is replaced by a healthy cornea from the eye donor.

There are numerous reasons as to why people do not donate their eyes: Lack of awareness among the general public

  • Insufficient facilities in the institutes and hospitals
  • Absence of motivation even among trained personnel
  • Social and religious myths

All we need to know about eye donation

  • Eye donation is donating one’s eyes after his / her death.
  • Only corneal blind people are benefited from donated eyes.
  • Corneal blindness is the loss of sight due to damage in the tissue covering the front of eye called cornea.
  • Anyone can donate their eyes irrespective of age, sex and blood group.
  • The cornea should be removed within an hour of death.
  • Eyes of donated person can save the vision of two corneal blind people.
  • Eye removal takes only 10-15 minutes and leaves no scar or disfigurement of the face.
  • Donated eyes are never bought or sold. Eye donation is never refused.
  • Contact the eye bank to become a registered eye donor.

FAQ’s on Eye Donation

  • Who can be an Eye donor?
    Anyone can be a donor, irrespective of age, sex, blood group or religion. People who use lenses or spectacles for nearsightedness, farsightedness or even those whose eyes are operated can still donate their eyes. Poor eyesight does not come in way of eye donation.
  • I am suffering from Diabetes; Can I still donate my eyes?
    Diabetic patients or those who are suffering from hypertension, asthma can also donate their eyes. Anyone with cataract can also donate their eyes. However, a person with communicable diseases cannot donate his/her eyes.
  • How can the eyesight be restored?
    Persons who have lost their sight because of damage to the cornea can hope to regain it with corneal grafting.
  • Please specify the conditions where one cannot donate eyes?
    Persons who have systemic infections like AIDS, hepatitis B or C, Rabies, Tetanus, Malaria cannot donate their eyes. For complete list of diseases / health conditions which are contraindicative for eye donation, Click here.
  • How quickly should corneas be removed after death?
    The corneas should be removed preferably within an hour, but can be removed up to a maximum of 6-8 hours, of death.
  • Does eye donation disfigure the face?
    No, It is a myth that eye donation disfigures the face. Removal of the cornea does not cause any disfigurement. After the eyeball has been removed, a transparent eye cap is placed in the eye in place of the eyeball.
  • Why should I donate my eyes?
    Eye donation is a noble cause. Donating your eyes to another person can light up the life of two people.
  • How can I donate my eyes?
    For eye donation, you are required to fill the pledge form and send it to any of the nearest eye bank. Once you are registered as an eye donor you will be provided an  Eye Donor Card. To see a specimen pledge form, please Click here.
  • How can I know where to donate eyes?
    Dial 1919 in Delhi (MTNL Toll Free No. for Eye Donation 24 hrs.).
  • How many people can be benefited by my eye donation?
    At least two people can be benefited. Eyes of a donated person will go to two different corneal blind individuals.
  • When can I donate my eyes?
    Eye donation can be pledged at any age but donation is carried out only after death.
  • Will others come to know that I have my donated my eyes?
    The identities of both donor and recipient are kept confidential. Hence, you need not worry about your identity being revealed.
  • Will the donor’s family pay or receive any fees?
    No, It is illegal to buy and sell human eyes, organs and tissues. Any costs associated with eye transplant are borne by the eye bank.
  • How can eyesight be restored?
    Persons who have lost their sight because of damage to the cornea can hope to regain it with corneal grafting.
  • In case of a person’s death; what are the instruction that people around can follow?
    • Close the eyelids of the donor
    • Switch off the fan; you can switch on the air-conditioner
    • Raise the head of the deceased slightly by placing a pillow underneath
    • Contact the nearest eye bank at 1919 as quickly as possible
  • Is it necessary to take donor to the hospital?
  • No, you just need to contact the eye bank team. The team will go to the donors residence or the hospital where the death has occurred and perform the corneal excision.
  • Is there any other formality to be done for eye donation?
    Eye Donation can be done only with the written consent of the next of kin in the presence of two witnesses.

National Eye Donation Fortnight Theme

  • The theme of 2013 was “Motivation for Eye Donation“.
  • The theme of 2014 was “Eye Donation – A Gift of Sight“.
  • The theme of 2015 was “Mission to Vision“.
  • The theme of 2017 was “Joy in giving – Donate Eyes“.
  • The theme of 2020 was “Light Up A Life – Donate Your Eyes“.

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