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29th National Eye Donation Fortnight 2014
HARISH DIDO | 26 Aug 2014

The National Eye Donation Fortnight is celebrated every year from 25thAugust to 8th September. The celebration of the great campaign is go through very well in order to promote the eye donation process as well as to put forth the significant message to the people for being the special part of eye donation or eye pledging for giving normal life to the common public.

According to the report it is noted that one of the five blind people of the world is from India means at least 46 lakhs of Indians are suffering from the corneal blindness whereas the rate of eye donation is only 35,000 eyes which cannot fulfill the need of healthy eyes to the common people. There is a large gap between the process of demand and supply of the eyes.

The National Fortnight on Eye Donation is celebrated nationally under the National Program for Control of Blindness. According to the medical history it is observed that about 20,000 new cases of the eye blindness are added every year. The majority of blind people are young (due to injuries, infections, deficiency of Vitamin 'A', malnutrition, congenital or other factors) and their eye sight can be restored through corneal transplantation only. So it has become very necessary to educate the people of the society including both young and old to finish the gap between demand and supply of the cornea.

Speaking on this occasion, Raj Kishore Kalra, a social activist and President Social Welfare Society (SWS) said, "No doubt, a fortnight is dedicated for creating awareness among each category of people in the country by organizing seminars, rallies and grants for the purpose are also released by the Central Government but still the number of donors for eye after death are decreasing every year."

He further said, the SWS is working on this campaign for the last seven years and in India itself, there are about 50 lakh people are blind with one or the other reason and the increase is about 25,000 every year.   In case, the cornea is transplanted to these persons, they too can continue to enjoy the colours of life.  But, it is unfortunate that every year 35-40000 eyes are deposited with the Eye Banks.

Kalra giving an example of Sri Lanka, he said, no doubt, Sri Lanka is a poor and small country as compared to India, but its people are giving light to the people in whole of the world.  In  Sri Lanka, there is a law that in the event of death of a person, the first thing they have to do is to inform the nearby hospital to collect the eyes.  The death certification is also done only after the donation of eyes after the death of a person. Even India gets a small quantity of eyes from Sri Lanka.

Expressing his earnest desire, Kalra said, in  case in India too, a law is formulated to make it mandatory to donate eye to the Eye Bank after death, the in the coming 5 years, all visually impaired person, whose cornea can be transplanted, could get light of the day.

Sharing the statistics, Kalra said, the Social Welfare Society, Fazilka has so far donated 476 eyes to the Eye Bank during the last 7 years. 

The members of the SWS have demanded from the Centre Government that like Sri Lanka, India too should make a law making it compulsory to donate eye after death.  The society also demanded from Punjab Health Minister, Surjit Kumar Jyani, to set-up Eye Banks at all the district headquarters in Punjab so that maximum people could join in this campaign.

An appeal was also made by the Society to all religious, social, political, teachers institutions to motivate the people to donate eyes after death during this 29th National
Eye Donation Fortnight, by making it a family tradition so that Last Light of someone may become First Light.