As of today, prevalence of blindness in India is approximated to be 0.45% among the Indian population, in which corneal blindness constitutes 0.9%. Corneal retrieval through eye banking plays a principal role in tackling this issue. India, being a developing country, has the maximum number of eye banks (238) in the world. The retrieval and utilization rates need furtherance compared to developed nations. There is a fourfold need in procurement of corneas to curb cornea-related blindness in India. Shortage of tissues can be resolved by improving awareness and conversion of pledging to donation among our population.
In this study, the author has addressed the main motivating factors responsible for eye donation in southern India. A telephonic questionnaire containing 15 questions was taken as the key assessing tool. Most of the questions were directed towards factors inducing donation. Even though the awareness quotient was better in southern India, the willingness to donate was approximately 60%.
Another important aspect to take note was that the pledging rates had little correlation to donation as the first-degree relatives of the donor are the primary deciders for donation at retrieval. Previous donation in the family and the effect of grief counselors had better retrieval rates compared to normal. The importance of grief counselors as catalysts in the society has been well elucidated to curb the latter issues, and they are clearly superior compared to other means of promoting eye donation.
The obtainment of corneas through hospital corneal retrieval program (HCRP) were less, when comparing the Indian scenario to this study. Maintaining a good contact and providing transport with the chain of hospitals around the vicinity of the eye bank ensures betterment in the HCRP. The HRCP plays a vital role to the eye bank, as it ensures better retrieval and the quality of tissues obtained. It is well known that tissue utilization rates are better in HCRP corneas compared to voluntary donation. An increased rate of voluntary donation may be due to the demography, where this study was conducted.
To conclude, even though motivating factors have been pinned down, other factors regarding storage, collection, and tissue utilization (50.5%) are vital for the amelioration of eye banking practices, and the awareness programs should be focused toward the target population.
1. Directorate General of Health Services Available from: https://dghs.gov.in/content/1354_3_NationalProgrammeforControlofBlindnessVisual.aspx
Last accessed on 2022 Jun 16
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