The Sabha has launched a scheme in
association with Sankara Nethralaya to
enable the economically weak section of our
community in Chennai to undergo surgery for
eye diseases like cataract etc. Under this
scheme, the Sabha will sponsor the cases to
the Sankara Nethralaya and after
surgery/treatment; the Sabha will pay the
bill direct to the Sankara Nethralaya.
While on the subject, it is very essential
for us to know about eye donations. Despite
the large population of India, it is a pity
that a lot of our eye hospitals depend on
eyes donated in Sri Lanka to cure the blind
here. Some persons have a misconceived
belief that if a body is disposed off (by
cremation/burial) with some organs missing,
that person will be reborn without these
organs. But there is no support for such a
belief in scriptures or in science.
In fact, scriptures talk about the
importance of daanas (gifts) such as Pancha
Daanas, Dasa Daanas etc. and the Agni Purana
mentions even Shata Daanas which include
parts of the human body. Donating parts of
the body is the best Daana one can do.
Bhagavata Purana mentions about Sage
Dadheechi who, on being requested by Indra,
donated his back-bone for making Vajraayudha.
The Sage informed Indra that he considered
himself to be most fortunate to make
available his bone for a noble cause and
left his body by yogic practice.
There is no requirement according to
scripture that the body, in its entire form,
should be offered to Agni (cremated). There
is no taboo on donation of body parts.
However, once the body is bathed before
cremation, no structural changes are to be
done before cremation.
Eye donation is done much before bathing the
body. In fact eye donation has to be
completed within 6 hours of death.
We give below some basic information on eye
What is an Eye Bank
An eye bank is an organization, which
obtain, evaluates and distributes eyes from
humanitarian-minded citizens for use in
corneal transplantation, research and
education. To ensure patient safety, the
donated eyes are evaluated under strict
medical standards. All donated eyes not
suitable for corneal transplantation are
used for valuable research and education.
Why should eyes be donated?
Donated human eyes are necessary in
preservation and restoration of sight
through corneal transplantation, research
and education. More than 90% corneal
transplant operation successfully restores
vision in people suffering from blindness
due to corneal problems. Infants born with
cloudy corneas have an opportunity to see
following corneal transplantation.
What is the Cornea?
The cornea is the clear, transparent dome in
front of the “black portion” of the eyes. It
is also the main focusing surface, which
converges light rays as they enter the eye
to focus on the retina. It is thus the most
important part of the optical apparatus of
the Eye. Loss of transparency directly
results in loss of vision.
What is Corneal Transplantation?
A Corneal transplant is an operation which
replaces the opaque cornea with a clear
cornea obtained from a human donor eye.
Magnitude of the problem in India
1/3rd of the world’s blind is in India
27 million – moderate sight impairment
9 million – bilateral blind (in both eyes)
260,000 – blind children
Corneal blinds in India number 4.6million.
Out of these 90% are below the age of 45
years including 60% who are below the age of
Out of 4.6 million, at least 3 million can
benefit by corneal transplantation.
Who can be an eye donor?
Practically anybody from the age of one.
There is no maximum age limit. Poor eye
sight and age make no difference. One can
bequeath his eyes by taking a pledge while
he is alive. He resolves to donate his eyes
after his death. This by itself is a noble
act but it requires relatives or friends to
carry out his pledge, his desire, after his
death. Spectacle wearers, persons who had
cataract surgery, diabetics and
hypertensives can donate eyes. The ultimate
decision about usage for transplantation
will be made after evaluation.
Can the next-of-kin consent to a donation
if the deceased family member hasn’t signed
a pledge form?
How to donate?
You are authorized to donate the eyes of
your beloved relatives at the time of their
death. But the eyes need to be collected
within 6 hours of death. So, please call the
eye bank as early as possible after the
Things to do after making the call:
1. Keep both eyes of deceased closed and
covered with moist cotton.
2. Switch off the overhead fan.
3. If possible, instill antibiotic eye drops
periodically in the deceased’s eyes to
reduce the chance of infection.
4. Raise the head end of the body by about 6
inches, if possible – to lessen the
incidence of bleeding during the removal of
Who cannot be a donor?
Death of unknown cause.
Death due to infections caused by Rabies,
syphilis, infectious hepatitis, septicemia
Is there any delay in funeral
No. Eyes removal is performed shortly
(within half an hour) after death and leaves
no visible signs that would interfere with
common funeral practices.
Can the whole eye be transplanted?
No. Only the cornea can be transplanted.
However, the rest in part of the donor eye
is used for research and education.
Can a person blind from retinal or optic
nerve disease donate his eyes?
Yes. Provided the cornea is clear.
Can a living person donate his/her eyes?
Can the recipients be told who donated
No. The gift of sight is made anonymously.
Any special phone nos. for eye bank and
Yes. A dedicated special phone Nos.28281919
and 28271616 are available for 24 hours
service. Family members of the deceased
persons can contact this phone no. to donate
the eyes of the deceased persons.
We hope all our readers are convinced of the
need for enabling a large number of persons
suffering from corneal blindness to regain
their sight because of the eye donations
from the more enlightened section. An eye
donation form has been enclosed with the
Newsletter addressed to our members residing
in Chennai. We trust our readers elsewhere
will be able to contact a nearest Eye-Bank
and thus help to a large extent to eliminate