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   Table of Contents      
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 332-333

Eye donation: Mere awareness and willingness not enough. Only a catalyst can improve corneal harvesting rates

1 Department of Pathology, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Narhe, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Dr. Gogate's Eye Clinic, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication11-Jun-2011

Correspondence Address:
Parikshit Gogate
Dr. Gogate's Eye Clinic, K-102, Kumar Garima, Tadiwala Road, Pune - 411 001, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0301-4738.82016

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How to cite this article:
Gogate B, Gogate P. Eye donation: Mere awareness and willingness not enough. Only a catalyst can improve corneal harvesting rates. Indian J Ophthalmol 2011;59:332-3

How to cite this URL:
Gogate B, Gogate P. Eye donation: Mere awareness and willingness not enough. Only a catalyst can improve corneal harvesting rates. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2020 Aug 15];59:332-3. Available from: http://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2011/59/4/332/82016

Dear Editor,

We congratulate Bhandary et al. for documenting the awareness and willingness to donate eyes among the populace of Melaka, Malaysia. [1] Although they have reported an awareness of 69% and the willingness to donate at 34.4%, the actual eye donation in entire Malaysia (population in 23 million) was 20 (eyes or persons has not been mentioned). Similarly, relatively high figures of awareness and willingness have been recorded from Indian studies from Delhi (55.4% and 41.5%), Tamil Nadu (50.7%), rural (30.7%, 32.9%) and urban (73.8% and 44.9%) Andhra Pradesh, and Pune. [2],[3],[4],[5],[6] But the actual eye donation figures for the country have been very low, even though India has a death rate of seven per thousand individuals. [7],[8]

When queried about such donations, many people have an abstract "willingness to donate their body organs" after death. This stems from a genuine belief in doing something good and for some, giving the "right" or acceptable answer to the questionnaire.

It was estimated that 200000 corneas were needed, just 1 lakh donors, to fulfill the eye banking needs of the nation. [7] With a death rate of 8 per thousand, even if 10% of the populace were willing to donate their eyes and actually did so, it would suffice. [8] Although hospital cornea retrieval programs form the backbone of most eye banks, home deaths also contribute a significant proportion. What is needed is a catalyst to convert this intention into a deed. The first few hours after a person's death are most traumatic to his/her near and dear ones. If someone would gently suggest them the triple benefits of eye banking-potentially vision to two blind persons and third-a good deed registered in the name of the deceased, many would be willing. Certifying doctors and persons of faith (priests who perform the last rites) are the most obvious catalysts. We have reported how persons of faith have a tremendous potential to enhance eye donation. [9] Similarly, if the need and benefits of eye donation were to be popularized among general practitioners of modern medicine (MBBS), ayurvedic (BAMS), and homeopathic (BHMS), as they are the ones most often certifying deaths, they would ensure that the nearest eye bank got more calls from relatives wanting to donate their departed one's eyes.

Eyes from younger individuals have far better endothelial cell counts and are more useful for corneal transplants. The significant causes of death in 18 to 40 years old are road traffic accidents and suicides. [10] Casualty medical officers, emergency medical personnel, and police officers can play a yeoman role in improving eye donation figures.

Although mass media can prime a community in awareness and improve willingness to donate, [1],[2],[3] only a catalyst in those few crucial hours after death can actually ensure that the corneas are harvested. Raising awareness through mass media is a necessary, but not sufficient condition, to improve human organ harvesting. The focus should be on having more "catalysts" who facilitate the reaction.

  References Top

Bhandary S, Khanna R, Rao AK, Rao LG, Lingam KD, Binu V. Eye donation -Awareness and willingness amongst attendants of patients at various clinics in Melaka, Malaysia. Indian J Ophthalmol 2011;59:41-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Tandon R, Verma K, Vanathi M, Pandey RM, Vajpayee RB. Factors affecting eye donation from postmortem cases in tertiary care hospital. Cornea 2004;23:597-601.  Back to cited text no. 2
Priyadarshin B, Srinivasan M, Padmavathi A, Selvam S, Saradha R, Nirmalan PK. Awareness of eye donation in adult population of Southern India: A pilot study. Indian J Ophthalmol 2003;51:101-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Krishnaiah S, Kovai V, Nutheti R, Shammana BR, Thomas R, Rao GN. Awareness of eye donation in rural population in India. Indian J Ophthalmol 2004;52:73-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Dandona R, Dandona L, Naduvilath TJ, McCarty CA, Rao GN. Awareness of eye donation in the urban population In India. Aust N Z J Ophthalmol 1999;27:166-9.   Back to cited text no. 5
Gogate B, Gogate P, Khandekar R, Bhargava A, Kurpad S, Deshpande M. Awareness of eye donation amongst health care workers. Asian J Ophthalmol 2008;10:171-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
Rao GN. Eye banking--Are we really up to it in India? Indian J Ophthalmol 2004;52:183.   Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
The Census of India, 2001.  Back to cited text no. 8
Gogate B, Gogate P, Deshpande M. Eye donation program through faith leaders. Br J Ophthalmol 2008;92:867-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
Available from: http://www.healthnews.com/medical-updates/leading-causes-death-asia. [last accessed on 2011 Jan 6].  Back to cited text no. 10

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[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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