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Q: What is the cornea?
A: The cornea is a clear dome shaped outermost layer that covers the front black portion of the eye.

Q: What is corneal blindness?
A: As long as the cornea remains transparent, light can pass through it and the person can see. Sometimes the cornea becomes opaque or cloudy (when it is damaged) or loses its transparency following trauma, infection or other diseases. A person with an opaque cornea cannot see; this condition is known as corneal blindness.

Q: What is corneal transplantation?
A: A corneally blind person can see again through a surgical procedure known as corneal transplantation wherein the damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy cornea from a deceased donor.

Q: Who can be an eye donor?
A: Persons of any age, those who use spectacles, as well as those with diabetes or hypertension can donate their eyes after death. Persons below 18 years of age need an authorization from their parent or guardian for donating eyes. The consent of the next of kin is essential for removing the eye after the donor’s death.

Q: Are the eyes removed only after death?
A: Yes, the eyes – or the corneal tissue – are removed only after death at the donor’s home or hospital. Even if the donor has not pledged to donate eyes in his/her lifetime, the consent of family members is enough to make an eye donation.

Q: What is cornea?
A: The cornea is a clear dome shaped outermost layer that covers the front black portion of the eye.

Q: How soon should the cornea be removed after a donor’s death?
A: The cornea should be removed within 6-8 hours of death.

Q: Is it necessary to take donor to the hospital for donating the eyes?
A: No, the Eye Bank team will go to the donor’s residence or the hospital and perform the corneal excision.

Q: Does eye donation cause any disfigurement?
A: No, removing the cornea does not cause any disfigurement; a transparent eye cap is placed in the eye in place of the removed cornea.

Q: Does the procedure delay funeral arrangements?
A: No, the procedure takes only 20 minutes and family members can proceed with the funeral arrangements as planned.

Q: Is there an urgent need for eye donations?
A: Currently, the supply of donor eyes does not meet the demand. It is estimated that over two million people in our country suffer from corneal blindness, 60% of those requiring corneal transplants are below the age of 12. We need one lakh corneal transplants every year, but only 10,000 surgeries are performed.

Q: How is the tissue harvested from a donor?
A: The Eye Bank uses a simple procedure known as in situ corneal excision. This involves removing only the cornea from the eye of the donor. The excised cornea is kept in a preservative called the M K medium (developed by Punarjot Eye Bank.) and stored in the refrigerator until it is used for surgery.