Donors for eye transplants drop by 34 per cent in Maharashtra
Even as over 2,000 patients await eye transplant in the state, donors drop by 34% in 4 years
Over a month ago, Kandivli resident Ramesh Vora, 32, tore the cornea of his left eye in an accident at home. While doctors at the government-run St George Hospital extracted the foreign particles that had entered the eye, he is currently waiting for a cornea transplant to get his eyesight back. Vora, who is on a long waiting list for the transplant, is not alone. Each year, thousands of patients in the city require a transplant. However, ophthalmologists claim there is a huge gap in the demand and supply for eye donations.
As per the data available from the Director of Health Services, between 2014 and 2017, 29,359 eye donations were recorded. However, the number of donors have dropped drastically from 8,298 eye balls in 2014 to 5,421 in 2017. City ophthalmologists said the drop is a concern, as currently, there are over 2,000 people on the waiting list for eye donations.
According to the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCN), by 2020, the number of individuals with unilateral corneal blindness in India is expected to increase to 1.06 crore. To treat them, 2 lakh corneas will be required every year. However, only 45,000 have been collected till date.
"People talk about kidney, liver, heart donations, but we often forget to raise awareness on eye donations," said Dr S Natarajan from Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital. "Due to fear and superstitions among people, many families refuse to donate their eyes. We have coordinators, who counsel the families of patients," said Dr TP Lahane, an ophthalmologist and director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research.
29,359 No. of eye donations recorded between 2014-17
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