Make eye donation easier, say experts

Make eye donation easier, say experts

The will of organ donation of the dying person should be honoured, said eye experts at a conference.

They said in the present law, a person can indicate the wish on the driving licence, but after the brain death of the person, the authority lies with the relatives who usually do not allow the organs to be donated.

Dr Ashu Aggarwal, treasurer, Delhi Ophthalmological Society, pointing to the need of cornea donation, said, “We have 1.2 million people with corneal blindness in India and only 4,500 corneas were collected last year. Out of 600 eye banks, only 250 are active. Thus, there is a need to promote organ donation.”

DOS is hosting its annual ophthalmic conference under the theme. “Future of Ophthalmology, Today” from April 6 to 8, 2012.

“We bring latest technology to the table for the ophthalmologists to discuss and understand their field better,” said Dr B P Guliani, professor, ophthalmology, Safdarjung Hospital and president, DOS. Nearly 4,000 delegates from India and abroad have come to participate in the conference.

Global estimates touch 39 million blind and 285 visually impaired with about 7.8 million being in India. Cataract accounts for 62 per cent, followed by refractive error (19.7 per cent), glaucoma (5.8 per cent), corneal blindness (one per cent), diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration (4.7 per cent). Refractive error is the most common cause of visual impairment and affects nearly 25 per cent people.

“The best time to catch eye troubles is when people are young. There should be compulsory pre-school admission eye test to detect an eye problem. Fifty per cent of childhood blindness is avoidable if treated on time,” said Dr Rohit Saxena, assistant professor, ophthalmology, AIIMS. He said the vision screening programme of the government should be implemented more aggressively.

“Many children are left behind in schools because they cannot read the blackboard properly. Similarly, many of them cannot participate in sports and they develop inferiority complex. Maintaining their vision should be a priority.

Children should first be tested before entering school and then, at 10-15 years when the vision problems grow fastest,” said Dr Saxena.

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