However, the waiting list for eye surgeries at the premier institute is still long and currently stands at 500.
NEW DELHI: In 2017, the National Eye Bank at AIIMS retrieved a record 1,844 donor corn-eas, the highest in the past 50 years. At least 1,285 corneal blind patients have been transplanted and have gained vision in the last year, the hospital said.
However, the waiting list for eye surgeries at the premier institute is still long and currently stands at 500. “As many as 1,285 corneal transplant surgeries were conducted last year, that amounts to a utilisation rate of 70 per cent, which is greater than the national average,” said Jeewan S. Titiyal, Chairman of the National Eye Bank (NEB), Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophtha-lmic Sciences, AIIMS.
The doctors, however, said that there is still a great need of awareness about the donation to reduce the supply-demand gap. Overall, two lakh corneas are required per year but only a few thousands are being donated currently.
In the last 52 years since the establishment of NEB, more than 26,000 corneas have been collected till date and over 17,000 corn-eal blind patients from all over the country have been rehabilitated by mea-ns of corneal transplantation. Dr Titiyal, also a
professor of ophthalmology at the AIIMS, was add-ressing a press conference at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences at the prem-ier institute here, to mark the 33rd eye donation fortnight celebrations.
A window of “six to eight hours” after the dea-th of a person is considered the “optimum time” on an average for the donation of eyes for transplant surgery, but in some cases corneas have also been accepted after 24 hours, he said. “Six hours is the cut-off period for the donation of eyes in places where the climate is warm and humid, and about eight hours in cold conditions or where the body has been kept in cool-ed environment having a refrigerator or air-cooling system,” he said.
He said that of the eyes donated at NEB, about 60 per cent are those whi-ch were given within eight hours while most of the corneal donations came within six hours.