Walkathon organized to mark national eye donation fortnight

Prashant Siddanagowda flagging off walkathon

By Matters India Reporter

Bengaluru, September 6, 2019: Students from two schools joined a walkathon organized by an eye hospital in Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka state.

Prashant Siddanagowda, Assistant Commissioner of Police, flagged off the walkathon from Coles Road to Goodwill School organized by Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital to mark the national eye donation fortnight.

About 200 students from Goodwill Girls High School and St. Joseph’s Convent Girls High School joined the program along with patients who underwent eye transplant, hospital staff and other members of the public. They also pledged to donate their eyes.

The chief guest ensured to support the cause for donating eyes on behalf of the department by filling the necessary documents and encouraged the students and his team to support a noble cause.

“Eye donation is rarely spoken and encouraged in our country. To help build awareness in this area, I am delighted to support Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital in their drive for eye donation among the young students. On this occasion, I also pledge to donate my eyes and will request every individual to be a responsible citizen and help someone see the world by donating their eyes,” Siddanagowda said,

Speaking on the increase cases of blindness, Dr Ram Mirlay, Head, Clinical Services, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, said Karnataka was among the top five states for visual disability and 950,000 visually handicapped in the state.

He also noted that One out of every five blind person in the world lives in India and if just 1 percent of Indian population pledged to donate its eyes, the supply of corneas would be enough to completely cure the incidence of eye blindness in the country and more than 2250,000 blind people in the country could regain eyesight if they get a corneal transplant. This drive will spread the message on the importance of eye donation.

Supporting the eye donation drive, Dr. Archana S, head of the Clinical Services in the hospital, said eye donation drives helps in building awareness among people. India has about 4.6 million people with corneal blindness and this is expected to increase to 10 million by 2020. “Currently there is a huge gap among the number of people awaiting corneal transplant and the available donors in our country. Hence we need to increase the number of eye donations in India,” she said.

Present at the eye donation drive, Dr. Raghu Nagaraju Senior Consultant, Ophthalmologist of the organizing hospital, said, “Today we face the lack of eye bank units in Karnataka. We need to increase the number of eye banks in Karnataka across Tier I & Tier II cities, which will reduce the transportation duration since the cornea has to be collected at the right time, stored promptly and transplanted as soon as possible. To tackle the problem of blindness, all government-run district hospitals must have a corneal specialized surgeon. Hospitals in these cities have a high demand of ophthalmologists because of the growing cases in blindness. Additionally, the hospitals need to work closely with the government to build infrastructure that is needed for corneal transplantation across government-run medical colleges.”

Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital a comprehensive eye hospital offering a one-stop solution for eye ailments; was started in the year 1957. Now it has 31 hospitals in Tamil Nadu and a visible footprint in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andaman, West Bengal, and Rajasthan.

A tertiary eye care center at Mauritius marks its first step towards establishing an international presence extended up to 13 branches covering the Indian Ocean region, African countries and East Asia.

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