Let our eyes continue to see long after we are gone – World Sight Day October 10

Let our eyes continue to see long after we are gone – World Sight Day October 10, 2019

  • “Everyone should come forward to donate their eyes. Let’s overcome the superstitious beliefs and try to bring change in someone’s life. When you donate your eyes, you give the gift of sight to someone. I have pledged my eyes.” – Rajnikanth, Cine Actor

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October to focus global attention on blindness and visual impairment. This year the Global Sight Day will be observed on October 10, 2019. The purpose of Global Sight Day is to create awareness among the sighted about the need to promote eye donation and understand the challenges faced by the visually impaired.

• Approximately 1.1 Million people are corneal blind in India
• More than @100,000 corneal transplants are required annually in India
• Current annual transplant number is @25000 only

Understanding eye donation and the need for it

Eye donation is an act of donating one’s eyes after his/her death. Only corneal blinds are benefitted through this process, not other blinds. It is an act of charity purely for the benefit of society and is totally voluntary and is after death. So eye-donation should be encouraged on a large scale, as one of the best means of social service. To enable another person to obtain vision is one of the best forms of charity. Even after death, the donor lives in the eyes of the recipient. Eyes from a dead person can enable two blind people to acquire vision.

What is Corneal Blindness?

The Cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye. It is a focusing element of the eye. The Vision is dramatically reduced or lost if the cornea becomes cloudy. This loss of the vision is referred to as corneal blindness.

Is there a cure for corneal blindness?

Yes. Removing the damaged cornea and replacing it with a healthy cornea by surgery can cure corneal blindness. To date the treatment of the corneally blind people is corneal grafting. Artificial corneas have not yet been developed and hence the only source for the cornea is from our fellow human beings. The first corneal transplant took place in 1905.

Who can donate eyes

Eye donors could be of any age group or sex. People who use spectacles, diabetics, patients with high blood pressure, asthma patients and those without communicable diseases can donate eyes.

Who cannot donate eyes

Persons with AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Rabies, Septicaemia, Acute leukemia (Blood cancer), Tetanus, Cholera, and infectious diseases like Meningitis and Encephalitis cannot donate eyes.

How can one donate eyes?

The eyes of a dead person can be used only if they are taken out within 6 hrs of death. When a person who has given consent for the donation of one’s eyes dies, the eye should be kept wet by sprinkling water on them. Otherwise, pieces of cotton wool soaked in water should be placed on both the eyes so that the cornea does not become dry until the eye-surgeon arrives. After the removal of the eyes, the eyelids will be stitched together and there will be no visible signs of the eyes having been removed. The entire process is completed within 10-15 mins, therefore if an individual pledges to donate his eyes after death, it is the duty of his immediate family member/relatives to inform to the nearest eye bank after his death.

Blind Walks by The Project Vision, India

The Project Vision is an NGO that is a pioneer in driving awareness about eye donation and works with people with visual problems so that the visually impaired have a better life. They spearhead advocacy needed to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The reality of the global fact that 82% of the persons with disabilities are from the economically weaker sections of society goads The Project Vision to work with such people transcending all barriers of caste, creed, religion, and language.

Blindwalk is a global Service Mark of The Project Vision. This year the Blindwalks will be conducted at 200+ locations across India, Sri Lanka, China, Philippines, and Canada. The Blindwalk gives an opportunity for the sighted to feel what it is being blind. It is a walk lead by a visually challenged person who will lead 5 sighted people who will be blindfolded. The first Blindwalk was conducted by The Project Vision in 2014 and ever since it has become an annual feature across the globe to commemorate World Sight Day. At the end of the walk, the sighted participants pledge to take an oath to pledge their eyes for donation.

Blindwalk 2019 in Bengaluru

The Blindwalk is an opportunity for Bengalureans to experience what it means to be walking blindfolded led by visually challenged persons on World Sight Day. The event will be flagged off from St. Joseph Boys School, Museum Road, at 4:30 PM on October 10, 2019. The walk will culminate at the Samsung Opera House Brigade Road Junction with an assembly for the administration of the oath for eye donation and a short musical presentation by the Blind. For more details of the event visit, theprojectvision.org Details of the event are available on Facebook