It will be in association with major eye hospitals, says Sudhakar

The State will soon launch a programme for control of blindness in association with major eye hospitals in Karnataka, said Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Saturday.

Speaking at a symposium on “National programme for control of blindness in the area of avoidable and preventable blindness” organised by Narayana Nethralaya in the city, the Minister said the State will also set up a committee to chalk out a policy for ophthalmological care. “The committee will be headed by K. Bhujang Shetty, chairman of Narayana Nethralaya, and recommendations will be incorporated in the State’s healthcare policy,” he said.

Eye donations hit

Dr. Shetty said eye donations had literally come to a halt during the first four months of the pandemic.

“Although donations are picking up now, we have not managed to reach even 40% of collections during the pre-COVID-19 era. We used to collect 150 to 200 eyes every month then. Now, the collections hardly cross 40 a month,” he said.

Appealing to people to come forward for eye donations, the doctor said: “We are launching a hospital-based corneal retrieval programme so that families can be counselled about donation and eyes can be retrieved at the earliest.”

Eyesight lost

He said many people had lost their sight during the pandemic because eye hospitals could not carry out the therapeutic graft due to lack of donations.

“Many people who developed ulcers in the normal eye lost their eyesight because there were not enough eyes to do the grafting. Therapeutic grafting is important to save the sight,” Dr. Shetty added.

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