Cornea donation dips 81% in one year, Covid to blame

Cornea donation dips 81% in one year, Covid to blame

Photo for representational purpose only

Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14

The cornea collection and transplantation has been hit in the past one year due to Covid-19 pandemic. Only 170 corneas were collected during the year 2020-21, of which 161 were transplanted in Chandigarh hospitals.

The cornea collection has dipped by almost 81 per cent from the last year as 904 corneas were collected in the year 2019-20, out of which 618 were transplanted.

In 2018-19, 1,150 corneas were collected in Chandigarh and 698 were transplanted.

Dr SS Pandav, Professor, Advanced Eye Centre, PGI, Chandigarh, said: “Last year, we had mainly Covid-19 patients admitted to our hospital and we do not collect corneas of Covid positive patients for transplantation. Moreover, patients did not turn up for transplantation as other services were almost shut.”

“The cornea transplantation is now picking up in our institute and patients who require it are visiting the centre,” he said.

Prof Jagat Ram, ophthalmologist and Director, PGI, said: “Due to Covid-19 pandemic last year, there was hesitancy among people due to transmission. Organ donation and eye donation have been affected.”

There are three functional eye donation centres in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh has received Rs4 lakh under the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) in 2020-21.

The Department of Health & Family Welfare runs a National Programme for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment under the National Health Mission (NHM).

The National Eye Donation fortnight is observed every year from August 25 to September 8 to create awareness about the importance of eye donation and to motivate people to pledge their eyes for donation after death.

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