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16 Jan 2021, Edition - 2013, Saturday

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Coimbatore

‘India is now home to world’s largest number of blind people’

Covai Post Network

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The Coimbatore Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons (CSOS) joined hands with the Coimbatore chapter of the Indian Medial Association, and organized an awareness rally on eye donation, this morning. The event was part of the Eye Donation Awareness fortnight, from August 25 to September 8.

About one hundred people, including senior citizens, doctors, eye bank staffs, and students from various colleges participated in the rally.

Dr. JG Shanmuganathan, Chairman of Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore, flagged off the rally, near the All Soul’s Church. Participants carried placards and walked the entire stretch of the Race Course, and finished the rally at the start point.

“India is now home to the world’s largest number of blind people. Of the 37 million blind people across the globe, more than 15 million are from India, with 75 per cent being avoidable and treatable blindness. Corneal diseases are the major cause of visual loss, after cataract and glaucoma. Penetrating keratoplasty is the most successful and popular treatment for blindness. But the country is suffering from an acute shortage of donated eyes for the treatment of corneal blindness, with 80 per cent gap between the demand and supply,” Shanmuganathan said.

When asked about the causes of corneal blindness, the doctor said that infections, trauma, inflammatory eyes diseases, congenital diseases, as well as traditional home remedies that are often harmful to the eye, are among some of the factors.

Despite Tamil Nadu topping the list of eye donors in India, there is a huge gap between demand and supply. “Awareness about eye donation among general public will help reduce the demand-and-supply gap and achieve the target of one lakh corneal surgeries per year in India. Creating awareness and implementing effective hospital cornea retrieval programmes will be the answer for this bottleneck,” Shanmuganathan said.

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