TIO eye bank facing cornea shortage

Kathmandu, August 6

The eye bank at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology is facing shortage of corneas over the past one week.

According to Sankha Narayan Twayana, manager of the eye bank at TIO, the shortage is due to increased demand for the organ. “We not only transplant cornea in our hospital but also distribute them to hospitals across the country,” he said.

The eye bank has been providing cornea transplant service to the public for free.

“People lack understanding about eye donation. They think that donating eye means extracting the whole eye ball, but in reality only cornea, a small transparent layer on the front part of eye, is extracted,” Twayana added.

Till now, 60,000 people willing to donate their eyes have registered their names at the bank.

A total of 10,000 people have undergone cornea transplantation in its 23 years of establishment.

Twayana said they had been counselling the kin of the dead at Aryaghat in Pashupatinath temple area, asking them to donate eyes of the dead. He added that on consent of the relatives, staff from the blood bank extract the corneal tissue.

“We get nearly 60 per cent eye donations from cremation site in Pashuapatinath temple area in coordination with Pashupati Area Development Trust, while the remaining donations come from the hospital,” he said, adding, “It is necessary to make people aware about eye donation and get them commit to it while they are still alive.”