Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, in association with Eye Bank Association of India and SAKSHAMA conducted an awareness program during the eye donation fortnight on August 28, 2021. While addressing the attendees virtually, Prof. Namrata Sharma of RP Centre AIIMS, New Delhi, the secretary of both All India Ophthalmology Society as well as Eye Bank Association of India, said that corneal blindness has become the second most common cause of blindness in India after Cataract. She also emphasized the fact that corneal donation and transplant are lagging behind in numbers and the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of corneal retrievals by half of what was done in the previous years.
During the inaugural address, Kerala Governor Arif Mohamed Khan congratulated Amrita Hospital for taking leadership in eye donation activities. He further added that in order to give vision to three million corneal blind people in India and to make them productive and their families hopeful, we need to increase the number of corneal transplantations from the current 25000 to 1.5 lakh cases per year. Also, an increase in the number of eye donations correspondingly will help achieve this goal.
The Kerala Governor even emphasized the importance of creating awareness among the youth about eye donation and urged medical students and health professionals to take it forward. He encouraged the private hospitals of Kerala which take care of 60% of the healthcare needs of the state to come up with corporate social responsibility in the management of corneal blind people.
A public awareness video on eye donation created by Amrita Hospital was also released during the event. While addressing the attendees, Swami Poornamritandapuri said that the body after death goes to the basic elements and if part of it can help two blinds regain vision, there is no better humane deed.
Dr. Prem Nair (Medical Director, Amrita Hospital, Kochi) explained various steps initiated by Amrita Hospitals to improve the corneal blindness scenario. As a message aiming to create awareness, actor Mohanlal urged people to embrace eye donation so that the blind may see it. Other attendees of the program include Maj. Gen. Dr. J.K.S. Parihar (President of Eye Bank Association of India) and Dr. Santhosh (National Convenor of Cornea Andhatha Mukt Abhayan).
Aiming to provide teleconsultation to visually challenged people using technology, the Amrita Kiranam program was inaugurated by R. Ramachandran (State President of Sakshama. Ramakrishnan, who is blind, has dedicated his life to create awareness about the importance of eye donation.