Eye Donation Fortnight: Five misconceptions with eyes donation procedures

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The National Eye Donation Fortnight is observed from August 25 to September 8 to promote awareness about eye donation and also addresses the critical shortage of corneas for transplantation in India and around the world.

The most important part of the eyes – cornea – can often be used for transplantation until the age of 70 to 75. However, younger corneas are preferred due to their better chances of successful transplantation.

Let’s debunk some common misconceptions associated with eye donation procedures.

Myth 1: Can eye donation disfigure the donor’s body

Fact: No, the eye donation procedure is performed by trained medical professionals in a way that does not disfigure the donor’s body. The eyes are removed with care, and the donor’s face remains intact for an open-casket funeral if desired.

Myth 2: Can eye donation can lead to blindness in the next life

Fact: This is a traditional belief which has no basis in the modern scientific world. Medical science has no evidence to support the notion of such consequences in the afterlife.

Myth 3: People with spectacles or certain eye conditions can’t donate eyes

Fact: The cornea, the transparent front part of the eye, is often the focus of eye donation. People with spectacles can still donate their corneas.

Myth 4: Only young people can donate eyes

Fact: Younger coronas are most preferred due to better chances of success in transplantation, corneas from individuals of various age groups can be used. The decision is made based on the overall health and quality of the corneal tissue.

Myth 5: Eye donation can be done only immediately after death

Fact: While a timely donation is preferable, corneas can sometimes be harvested up to a few hours after death, especially with proper preservation techniques.