Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Wastage of Donated Eyes

The Government of India
The Government of Rajasthan has reported that in view of recent reports in newspapers and electronic media about the shortcoming of eye banks in the State, a state level committee consisting of following three members was set up for inspection of Eye Banks .

 To suggest remedial measures to improve eye banking services in the State:

1.      Director (Public Health), Jaipur, Rajasthan

2.      Professor (Ophthalmology Department), SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan

3.      Joint Director (Blindness), Jaipur, Rajasthan

The summary of major recommendations of the Inspection Committee to improve collection of donated eyes, proper storage facility and optimal utilization of the donated eyes for visual rehabilitation of the needy patients in Rajasthan is as under:

i)        Provision of sufficient manpower and material in Eye Banks associated with Medical Colleges;

ii)       Eye Banks following criterion laid down by the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) for eye Banking, should be taken as role model in the State to improve eye banking in the State;

iii)     Availability of sufficient M.K.Media for storage of donated eyes to avoid wastage;

iv)     Better networking among the Eye Banks;

v)      Use of services of news and print media for encouraging masses for eye donation;

vi)     Use of component keratoplasty to use both layers of cornea to meet shortage of donated cornea.

Further, no incidence of wastage of donated eyes in other parts of the country has been reported by the remaining States/UTs.

It is, however, normal that all collected corneas cannot be used for transplantation due to various medical reasons, like, poor quality of collected corneas, pre-existing degeneration/diseases etc. 
 Before, transplantation, the collected corneas are assessed by specialists for quality and suitability for optical keratoplasty.  Corneas not suitable or fit for optical keratoplasty are utilized either for therapeutic keratoplasty or for training, research and study purposes.
Following initiatives have been taken under NPCB to prevent possible loss of donated eye and to improve utilization of donated eyes:

i)        Formulation of norms/criterion for Eye Banking in the country.  These guidelines have been circulated to all States/UTs including Rajasthan in a NPCB booklet “Standards of Eye Banking in India” for strict compliance by Eye Banks and others concerned to ensure improved collection facilities, proper storage and optimal utilization of donated eyes;

ii)       NPCB in collaboration with Eye Bank Association of India has initiated networking of information about the cornea collected and the needy patients upon whom the collected corneas are to be transplanted;

iii)     Incentive to Non-Governmental Organizations in the form of grant-in-aid for corneal transplantation @ Rs.5000/- per case.

This was stated by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha today.

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