Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 20 (IANS) The list of people who have signed up to donate their eyes in Kerala is very large −− but when it comes to actual donation, just 250 corneal transplants took place last year, according to the Kerala Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons (KSOS).
V. Sahasranamam, president of KSOS, Tuesday said: "Despite Kerala being the most literate state, when it comes to actual donations last year in the state, just 250 corneas were received for transplantation. We have to step up the awareness campaign. One way is that those who have signed to donate their eyes should have a framed certificate displayed in their homes."
At the state's only Regional Institute of Ophthalmology here, last year around 80 corneal transplants took place while the waiting list of those seeking a transplant is more than 600.
"Eyes are the only organ in a human body that can be taken from a dead body as late as six hours of the person passing away. We have an arrangement with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation to transport corneas from a dead body to a nearby hospital," said Dr. Abraham Kurian, a leading ophthalmologist with an eye hospital in the capital city.
A cornea can be preserved for a maximum of two weeks.
"A major impediment is that when a donor passes away, relatives are reluctant to allow a corneal transplant," said Dr. Gopal, another ophthalmologist.
Incidentally, Gujarat leads the country when it comes to eye donations and Sri Lanka is the leading country which exports corneas.
At the three−day 39th KSOS annual meet here beginning Friday, special sessions would be held to train young eye surgeons in cataract surgery.