In a shocking revelation made by the state health department, only 2,033 of the 5,587 eye balls donated last year were used for giving vision to others. Of the rest, 1622 (29%) eye balls were used for medical research and lab experimentation, while 1,932 (34%) were thrown away.
Public health minister Suresh Shetty gave this information through a written reply to a question asked by legislator Chandrakant Patil during the question hour in the legislative council on Tuesday.
Patil had asked the government if this problem was arising because of lack of facilities and infrastructure of the health department, and if any measures were being proposed to improve the situation.
“The reason for the loss is not because of lack of facilities, but several factors. Eyes not reaching the beneficiary within six hours of being donated, bad quality of corneas, eye donors being on ventilators for long or having illnesses like AIDS, viral and rabies which makes transplants difficult," Shetty said.
He added that to encourage donation, the state holds eye donation camps from August 25 to September 8, which is well-advertised.
“All the eye donation banks and carotoplasty labs are registered with the department. There is a 'standards of eye banking’ that is sent to all government and non-government organisations that deal with eye donations,” he added.
In 2012, the government gave Rs. 15 lakh each to the three state-run eye banks, while it pays Rs1 lakh to organisations for every nine pairs of eyes donated.
Non-governmental organisations carrying out eye transplants are given Rs. 1,000 for each carotoplasty.