There is a ray of hope for 15 patients, who lost their eyesight due to a botched-up cataract removal surgery at a charity eye camp in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. The country’s second largest eye bank that is being run by the Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa district has offered to do corneal transplants, immediately and free of charges, on the victims.
Dr Aditya Insaan, dera spokesperson and an eye surgeon himself, said, “Apparently, there has been a serious damage to cornea of the patients. It seems that the infection in the eye has damaged it so much that it is not even possible to remove the pus without damaging the eye. With cornea damaged, a corneal transplant is the only way out to restore vision. We are making corneas available to these patients immediately and without charging any money. An expert surgical team is also available at all times.”
The dera has an enviable record of eye donations and the movement is being spearheaded by dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Dr Insaan said.
He added that the dera’s eye bank has been making inroads into the inaccessible areas, including Jammu and Kashmir that was recently hit by floods. The dera’s eye bank teamed up with doctors at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar to provide corneas.
On the directions of the dera head, seven corneas were airlifted and out of these five were used to restore sight of patients in the Kashmir Valley, he added, claiming that it was first time that corneal transplants were done in the Valley.
“Not just corneas are made readily available at Pujaniye Mata Kartar Kaur ji International Eye Bank in the dera, but innovative techniques are also used to minimise tissue wastage. About 60% of corneal tissue gets wasted but we have done ground-breaking research and have come up with innovative techniques to minimise tissue wastage,” said Dr Aditya Insaan.
More than 9,000 pairs of eyes have been donated at the dera’s eye bank and out of these nearly 3,000 have been transplanted to give sight to people. The eye donation movement is so strong that over 1.18 lakh people have pledged their eyes, he added.