Eye donation affected in absence of chemical that preserves cornea : The Tribune India

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Eye donation affected in absence of chemical that preserves cornea

Eye donation affected in absence of chemical that preserves cornea

Members of an eye donation society honour a donor. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Archit Watts

Muktsar, March 12

An eye donation society in Muktsar, which has helped in 430 eye donations till date, is presently without the chemical solution used to preserve corneas. As a result, the eye donation work is affected.

The state has two registered eye donation societies — one in Muktsar and the other in Hoshiarpur.

Medical experts say a cornea can be extracted within four to six hours of a donor’s death. A cornea, however, needs to be immediately transferred to the M-K (McCarey-Kaufman) medium, where it can remain intact for nearly four days before the transplant. The M-K medium is the chemical solution used to preserve the donated cornea.

“The M-K medium is provided by the Government Medical College in Faridkot and Amritsar. However, both the hospitals don’t have it at present. We received 10 pairs of the medium in December last year, which have been used. Now, we don’t have the medium. In the present circumstances, we will have to decline any eye donation request, which is disgraceful for us and the government as well. We have now requested the state programme officer to arrange the medium. Our society has been working for the past 22 years,” said Surinder Singh Chugty, general secretary, eye donation society, Muktsar.

Dr Neeti Singla, state programme officer, eye donation, said, “Punjab has two registered eye donation societies. I have got a letter from one society and approached the AIIMS authorities in Delhi to provide us the M-K medium at the earliest. In the past too, we have arranged the M-K medium for eye donation society. It is, however, the responsibility of the eye bank concerned to arrange medium. However, these eye banks don’t even return empty bottles of the M-K medium.”

Muktsar eye donation society covers a vast area in Punjab and sometimes matures eye donations in the neighbouring state of Rajasthan too. It collects cornea and transfers it to a nearby government run eye bank.

Meanwhile, a member of eye donation society said earlier the state government used to give them Rs 1,000 after the maturity of every eye donation. However, this practice had been discontinued for the past few years.

“Toll tax on our vehicles should be exempted as sometimes we have to go to faraway places to retrieve corneas,” he said.

Senior citizen Parshottam Lal said, “It is unbelievable that the two hospitals and society don’t have the basic solution. The authorities concerned should procure the chemical solution at the earliest.”

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