Mumbai: The Prime Minister has become the latest in the list of public figures to pledge to donate his eyes. But alarming statistics show that last year 70 per cent of the eyes donated went to waste.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pledged to donate his eyes. It is a good cause given that 15 million Indians are blind. Yet, his eyes may not be usable as transplants, depending on how serious his condition as a diabetic is. The Union Health Ministry has flagged some shocking statistics.
70 per cent of the eye donations last year went waste and were given away for academic research.
Last year, only 41,000 eye donations were made in India, a country that needs 2.5 lakh donations annually.
Out of these, only 30 per cent that is, only 12,000 corneas, could be used for eye transplants.
Dr Suresh, Eye Surgeon at Fortis hospital said, "Sometimes the cornea donated are found to be unsuitable after it undergoes a processing. It's after corneas are taken, that disease tests are carried out, so if the person has HIV, Cancer, Hep etc, those eyes are a waste."
The Health Ministry also found that less than 1 per cent of eyes pledged, translate into actual donations.
1.2 crore Indians, like 25-year old Ankush Bhole are living with some sort of treatable blindness. It took two years for him to find a matching cornea even in a city like Mumbai.
"I lost my eye-sight when I was in tenth standard, just two weeks before the boards. Then this was because my cornea started melting, because of that I lost my good five years of academics," Ankush said.
23-year old Swapnil Dhonde hasn't been as lucky. Born with partial vision in both eyes, he has been waiting for a matching cornea for eight months.