A visual guide to Cornea Transplantation
What is the significance of the cornea ?
The cornea is the transparent front surface of the eye. It is an important optical structure through which rays of light enter the eye. Any damage or injury to this delicate structure can lead to permanent loss of corneal transparency or in other words cause clouding and opacification.
What is 'Corneal Transplantation'?
Loss of corneal transparency prevents the entry of light rays into the eye and diminishes vision. In cases of severe of damage, this can cause total loss of vision making the person visually handicapped. It is estimated that there are around two million people in India suffering from corneal blindness. Of these, sixty percent of the cases include children under age twelve, who have suffered corneal damage due to accidents. There are other conditions also such as malnutrition, Vitamin A deficiency, infection, certain corneal diseases such as 'keratoconus
' and 'corneal degeneration', which can cause corneal blindness.
Corneal transplantation / keratoplasty/ corneal grafting is the surgical procedure that restores sight in patients suffering from corneal blindness. In this surgical procedure , the diseased opaque cornea is replaced by a clear healthy donor corneal tissue which restores sight by allowing the light rays to enter the eye through the transplanted clear cornea.
This procedure of corneal grafting is possible only on the availability of donor cornea by process of eye donation. By donating eyes after death a human being can restore sight to a blind person. This gift of sight is invaluable for these visually handicapped persons.
Who can donate eyes?
Eye donation is possible only after death. People of any age group can pledge to donate his/ her eyes after death. Even if one has not pledged their eyes themselves, the relatives can give consent for the donation of the eyes of the deceased.
Who can not donate eyes?
- Those with infectious diseases like Syphillis, AIDS, Septicaemia.
- Death due to Carcinoma or Cancer.
- Death due to unknown cause.
- Eyes with Corneal Disease.