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“Eyes” our greatest blessings

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

This article was written by Dr Anuradha Totey on the occasion of World Eye Donation Day 2020.

Today, being the world eye donation day, a day of humongous importance. I just can’t resist myself from sharing this story. This story carries a special importance today. You might have gone through this story before, but it carries a special relevance to a special cause. It is the tale of two seas.

The Jordan river which we are familiar with because of the Bible. It is a source of two different water bodies, the smaller sea of Galilee to the north and the larger Dead sea to the south. The sea of Galilee is active and populated as a regional center of commerce and tourism and is full of life. In contrast to this, the dead sea is ‘dead’ meaning it has no life. It’s a lake that is extremely salty and is a harsh environment in which animals, plants, and other aquatic organisms cannot flourish.

What surprises us is that both the rivers are sourced by the river of Jordan, then why the huge difference? The sea of Galilee draws water from the river of Jordon and these waters are then in turn used to source most of the population centers in Israel. Every drop which comes in is given back to the people and land around. On the contrary, river Jordan’s water pours into the dead sea and it comes to a dead end there. Every drop it gets from the river Jordon, it keeps, water stagnates.

It is only when the waters are used and active and moving it serves life like the river of Galilee. While at the Dead sea the water stops flowing, comes to a halt, becomes stale and salty, and loses its ability to give life.

It is true with human life too. Human life is about dynamism, about activity, about generous flow. It is our moral duty to share our possessions when we are alive and I would say it is our privilege to donate our valuable possessions when we depart. The joy of giving is far more precious than any other joy. According to me, eyes are the priceless treasure we possess.

Imagine the amount of contentment and fulfillment that will come to our share if we donate this priceless possession. Imagine the amount of happiness the person who will be able to visualize the colors of the world would experience. Let us close our eyes for a few minutes and experience the world of blind people. It seems to be dark, bleak, and sad. What if we can pass a ray of light and happiness into their gloomy world. Let’s fetch some information regarding how to go about it. Your mind will be full of queries now, let’s try to answer a few.

Who can donate eyes?

Anybody dying of noninfectious cause. Age is no bar. People always have a doubt if they have spectacles or their eyes are operated for cataracts, whether they can donate eyes or not. Of course, yes these people too can donate eyes.

Many people are curious regarding the procedure. The procedure is very simple. You just need to fill the eye donation form which is available on our website. One thing a person should not forget to do is to give copies of the form to their close relatives. The relatives should be aware that the deceased wanted to donate eyes.

After the death of a person, the relatives need to immediately call the eye bank and inform about the death of the person and the correct address. The eye donation team will immediately come to procure the eyeballs. The cornea is best suitable for transplantation if the eyeballs are procured within six hours. Meanwhile, the relatives need to close the eyes of the deceased and put wet cotton balls over the eyes. The fan in the room should be switched off. The air conditioner can be switched on. A pillow should be kept under the head of the deceased. The eye donation team will reach the place and do the enucleation, which is the surgery to remove the eyeballs which will not take more than fifteen to twenty minutes. Cotton balls or artificial eyeballs are put in the empty socket so there is no disfigurement. The team will complete the formalities and shift the eyeballs to the eye bank where it is stored in a specific storage media. The eye surgeons are informed and the recipients from the list are also informed. The corneas from the eyeballs are taken by the eye surgeons and transplanted to two different blind persons. The names of the donor and the recipient are kept confidential.

According to the National Program for control of blindness, currently, there are 1,20,000 corneal blind people in India. Let us pledge to donate eyes and do our little bit. I have pledged to donate my eyes. What about you?

Pledge for eye donation day

About the Authors:

Dr. Anuradha Totey is a renowned Ophthalmologist and Asst. Medical Director of Deesha Eye Bank Amravati

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