Let there be light

Three out of four people with curable blindness in Nepal are being deprived of an opportunity to see the world through their own eyes, all due to an acute shortage of transplantable corneas. At the Tilganga Eye Centre (TEC)-based Nepal Eye Bank (NEB) alone, around 400 people await corneal transplantation. While the need is of over four corneas per day, the centre is able to collect only one a day on an average. In many ways, this is an ‘artificial’ shortage, because many people with transplantable corneas die everyday. The real problem: the majority of the people, even the educated ones, hesitate to allow the use of their eyes after their death.

Moreover, cornea transplantation is a totally non-profit business. No one makes a penny: neither the family members of the donors nor the medical personnel involved. In this state of affairs, a better bet to push more people into donating their eyes (for nearly everyone is concerned about the wellbeing of their families) might be to charge the cornea recipients on need basis, as is being done in providing some other healthcare services, and do something for the donor’s family out of the compensation fund. For example, they could be provided free healthcare services for a certain period in government-run

hospitals. It is no less important to inculcate the young generation with service motive and prod them to take up the noblest cause of bringing light to someone’s life.