Mission To Create Awareness On The Importance Of EYE Donation


In India there are 1,50,000 waiting for cornea transplants and there are around 15,000 useable corneas across the country. About 75 lakh corneas are burned or buried. ‘Nayanajyothi’ Subramanium Jayaraman has taken it upon himself to turn into a sight ambassador, creating awareness about eye donation and urging people to pledge their eyes. “Eye banks too are not enough – about 400 in the country and just 10 in Bangalore – and each acts as an independent unit without sharing their database with other banks,” he bemoans. According to Jayaraman, when someone who has pledged their eyes dies, relatives are never quite clear which eye bank they should contact. Within a year of starting the Nayana Jyothi Trust in 2010 , to create awareness about eye donation, Jayaraman  had collected 26 pairs of eyes. Today, the trust has around 5000 pledges.  "Sight Ambassador Jayaraman goes far and wide to talk about eye donation. “People are surprised that the whole thing can be done within 30 minutes in the house itself. The golden hour is within 4 – 6 hours of death. Myths are debunked, like how the eyes of a person who had cataract, diabetes, high blood pressure or TB can be donated,” he says.    “I tell people – Give your eyes later but get eyes now. I ask them to take an SMS Pledge to become a Sight Ambassador. Those who become ambassadors are given cards with the phone numbers of eye banks on the spot. Then these ambassadors can tell others as well thereby creating awareness. The minute someone they know dies, they can facilitate by calling up the eye bank and ease out the process. Families can donate the eyes of their dear ones even if it has not been pledged before,” notes Jayaraman.   All people need to do is pledge through SMS: Eye<space>Name< space>Place and send it to 9944313131. (For instance, Eye <space> Jayanthi <space>Bangalore will send the name and location to the Nayanajyothi’s database). The names with location will be stored in the database without waste of time. “I now have the option of being in touch with the sight ambassadors. I send messages about eye care and so on. Every time they receive a message from me, the concept of eye donation is reinforced,” he explains.   “I am right now piloting the whole thing single handedly. I am trying to get all stake holders like eye banks, NGOs and state governments on one platform. It is a very hard sell to get eye banks to use this simple method of pledging and having a centralised database. I am also trying to get a unified number (108) that will have an independent call centre manning the calls and connecting the callers to their nearest eye bank. Currently, Bangalore has a number 1919 which goes to an eye care institution and the receptionist is not even aware of it.”   Jayaraman needs more and more sight ambassadors. He also needs volunteers who can show his/her organization the presentation so that there will be more participants. “I will give these sight ambassadors the presentation CD plus sight ambassador cards. They need to spread the word around apart from pledging their eyes,” he says. To become a volunteer, contact Jayaraman at 9845143650. This News has Published in Banglore Mirror.com On 3rd Jan 2012