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13 FAQs on eye donation answered by an expert

At least 15 lakh people are currently waiting for corneal transplants in India © Shutterstock

This eye donation fortnight let's all pledge to donate our eyes and save lives!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : July 30, 2018 2:41 PM IST

You can see the world through your eyes -- a phrase that aptly describes the power of vision. And pledging to donate your eyes can help restore a person's vision. It is estimated that India has around 4.6 million people with corneal blindness, which can be cured with corneal transplantation or eye donation. However, the lack of awareness about it and misconceptions about eye donation is the key reason that prevents people from coming forward and pledging to donate the eyes. So this eye donation fortnight, we asked Dr K V Harikrishna, Consultant, corneal specialist, and refractive surgeon, Maxivision Hospital, Hyderabad to explain about common queries on eye donation.

1. What is eye donation?

Eye donation is a noble act of donating eyes after a person's death. So if a person pledges to donate the eyes, then after his/her death, he can help provide vision to a blind person. Planning to donate your organs? Here are 10 things you should know.

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2. Who can donate their eyes?

Anybody can be an eye donor. Right from a child to an elderly individual as there is no age-limit for it. All a person has to do is pledge for eye donation by getting registered at an eye bank.

3. Who cannot donate their eyes?

Although everyone can donate their eyes, it is contraindicated (not recommended) for people suffering from tetanus, AIDS, syphilis or blood borne infections. Also, if a person had died due to rabies or any infectious diseases, then eye donation is ruled out.

4. Why is eye donation important?

The fact that you can give vision to a blind person even after your death is what makes it a good deed. People who lost their vision due to corneal injuries can see the world through your eyes. In a way, your eyes can live even after your death giving a life to a person and a family. Here's more on corneal transplant Everything you need to know.

5. How can I become a donor?

To become a donor, all you have to do is either register online for eye donation or consult an eye bank. There are few formalities that you have to do and the organization or eye bank can help you with all the formalities to have a smooth sailing experience. Let's pledge to donate eyes and organs.

6. Can a diabetic or cancer patient donate his eyes?

Yes, people suffering from diabetes and even a cancer patient can become an eye donor. Also, people with glasses and those diagnosed with hypertension can donate their eyes.

7. Can a person who is blind (due to retinal or optic nerve disease) donate his eyes?

Yes, he can only if the cornea is not damaged or injured. So a person with long term retinal or optic nerve damage is not a right candidate for eye donor as the cornea can be damaged. If the cornea is fine, then even a person with retinal or optic nerve disease can donate his eyes.

8. Can a living person donate his eyes?

No, a living person cannot donate his eyes and it is against the rules and regulations. Here are 23 frequently asked questions on organ donation answered.

9. Can the next of kin consent to a donation if the deceased person has not signed an eye donation form?

Yes, the kin of the deceased person can give the consent for eye donation by informing the officials of an eye bank or organ donation centres. The relatives or the family has to sign the form to complete the process to donate after the donor's demise if not pledged or registered earlier.

10. Is there a cost to donate?

No, the person pledging to donate the eyes doesn't have to pay anything for the donation process. And also, the organization or organ donation centre won't pay anything other person or the family for pledging to donate. So organ donation is a noble deed and doesn't involve any cost.

11. Will eye donation cause delays in the funeral arrangement?

No, it won't cause any delay in the funeral arrangement as the entire procedure takes only 15- 20 minutes.

12.Are there any religious conflicts in eye donation?

Most people are concerned about the role in religions in organ donation. People have queries like can we have an open casket or does my religion support eye, organ and tissue donation? Well, although few religious do not believe in organ donation, however, the fact that you can give a new lease of life to a person with your eyes is above any religion. Here are 5 common religious myths about organ donation you must stop believing in!

13.Will the recipient be informed of the donor s details?

No, the donor's family, as well as the recipient, will not be informed about the details of each other. It is done under strict rules and regulations and the details of the person are well secured with the organ donation centres.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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