GUWAHATI, Sept 3 - In 1994, only one person donated his eyes in Assam. The number has increased to 300 in 2017-18, but is still not adequate compared to the requirement of around 900 corneas. Thus, around 600 patients are deprived due to lack of eye donors, Dr Harsha Bhattacharjee, medical director of Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya, said here on Saturday.
Dr Bhattacharjee made the statement on the occasion of the 33rd National Eye Donation Fortnight. The Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya organised a programme to felicitate the family members of deceased eye donors who donated their eyes to the hospital eye bank from September 2017 to August 2018.
With the aim to eradicate corneal blindness in India, the eye donation fortnight is observed every year from August 25 to September 8 by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment.
�In Assam, there is still lack of mass awareness on eye donation. So the rate of donation per year could not reach the requirement. The aim of the programme is nothing but to create mass awareness,� Dr Bhattacharjee said.
A statement issued by the hospital said corneal blindness is one of the most common forms of blindness prevalent in India and is preventable with early detection and medical intervention. The common cause of this blindness is vitamin A deficiency, which mostly affects children, particularly newborns and infants. It also occurs due to accidents where injury is caused to the cornea. Many corneal disease conditions are not curable by medication, and need surgical intervention.
Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya is the first accredited eye bank in the North East and one of the five eye banks in the region. The three medical colleges of Assam - Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Silchar - have their own eye banks along with Jeuti eye bank in Jorhat.