Eye bank at GTB Hospital to see the light of day

It is only a matter of days before Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in east Delhi finally opens its eye bank and eye transplant facilities for the people of Delhi. This will make GTB Hospital the second Delhi government-run hospital to have an eye bank after Guru Nanak Eye Centre of Maulana Azad Medical College.

While there were reports almost a year ago that the eye bank would open then, the hospital received its registration only less than a month ago from the Union health ministry. The hospital is now all geared up to throw open the facilities to the general public in need of eye transplant.

“The eye bank is ready to provide its services and conduct eye transplants. We have the infrastructure, resources and equipment ready. We have received the registration and the inauguration is expected this month,” Dr Rajpal, medical superintendent of the hospital, told Deccan Herald.

Last year, at around the same time, officials of the Union health ministry and the eye bank at All India Institute of Medical Sciences had visited the hospital and proposed the eye bank at the health care centre.

The bank boasts of modular operation theatre, specular microscope, keratoplasty and 40 degree Celsius deep freezer, among other equipment. “We had to buy a few equipment for the eye bank. But many others were available with the various departments of the hospital itself. This reduced the overall investment,” said Dr Rajpal.

The hospital is also capable of visiting houses and collecting eyes from donors. Those requiring a transplant will have to fill a form. If the eyes are visible at the bank, the transplant will take place within 24 hours after the donated eyes have been taken from a body within four hours of a person’s death.

“Very often, across Delhi, when patients are brought into the emergency ward, their families wish to donate their organs, including eyes. But since eye transplant facility is available only at a very few centres in Delhi, donation does not happen. The visually challenged lose out in the process,” said a doctor at the hospital.

Situated on GTB Hospital’s main building’s fifth floor, it will also offer 24-hour helpline number. The hospital will also create awareness about the facility through posters at important locations in the city.

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