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Journal to encourage eye donation launched

Staff Reporter

One-fourth of the world's blind live in India


CHENNAI: Though one million eyes are needed every year for transplant, very little of the need is met because of poor awareness about eye donation.

A fourth of the world's blind live in India and poor knowledge about eye donation has left most of them impaired for life, say specialists. At least three million people with corneal blindness could benefit through transplant, they say.

Corneal transplants

According to statistics of C.U. Shah Eye Bank of Sankara Nethralaya, 90 per cent of the 4.6 million people who suffer from corneal blindness are below 45 years of age. The bank has done 552 corneal transplant surgeries in 2004.

To encourage more people to donate, the 25-year-old bank has launched a quarterly journal called Darshan.

First copy

Releasing the first copy of the magazine, N. Murali, Joint Managing Director of The Hindu, said the media, particularly the electronic media, could do a lot more in spreading the message. He saluted Sankara Nethralaya for its efforts.

He also felicitated filmmaker S.P. Muthuraman, who had made a three-minute film on eye donation.

On the occasion, the hospital honoured five of its well-wishers — Surekha Ben Mehta, Ashok Mehta, S.N. Srikanth, S.N. Hari Narayanan and R.C. Parekh — who motivate the kith of the dead to donate eyes.

Novelist Sivasankari recalled that in 1982 when the need for donation was stressed, the Government Eye Hospital did not have enough forms to give to potential donors.

Sita Ravi, editor of Kalki, urged the publishers of Darshan to reach out to students.

A bilingual magazine

Darshan, a bilingual magazine in English and Tamil, dispels the myths attached to donation and lists how the donor benefits.

The eye bank may be reached at 1919, a toll-free number, or 28279949.

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