Walk to create awareness about eye donation

New Delhi: Over 500 people including students participated in a walk organised here to increase awareness on eye donation and eliminate corneal blindness in India, which has over a fifth (22 per cent) of world's blind people. According to WHO, around 285 million people in the world are visually impaired, out of which 90.5 million are from the Southeast Asia region. According to doctors, if the cornea, the clear tissue covering the front of the eye, becomes cloudy from disease, injury, infection or poor nutrition, vision is dramatically reduced or lost. Corneal blindness can be treated by replacing the damaged cornea with a healthy donated human cornea. "The human cornea can be produced only through eye donation. Corneal blindness affects mainly children and young adults who have a long life ahead," said Mahipal Singh Sachdev, chairman and medical director at Centre for Sight, who organised the campaign. According to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, only 0.08 per cent of Indians donate their organs, including eyes, to the needy as compared to 70-80 per cent of Spaniards and Belgians. During the walk, which covered several areas of east Delhi, people were blindfolded and told to take a walk. Several people took pledge to donate their eyes after death. The National Eye Donation Fortnight is observed every year from August 25 to September 8 for creating awareness about preventable corneal blindness and encouraging the benevolent act of eye donation. IANS