As an institution with the firm belief that the disturbingly high gap between the need and availability of cornea for transplant can be bridged not by an individual or institution but only by creating awareness on eye donation at the ground level and by making it a ‘mass movement,’ Sankara Nethralaya conducts several eye donation awareness programs. Srimathi Akila Ganesan, Senior General Manager addressed a large gathering of students belonging to the Loyola Outreach Department, formed to make students experience and express concern for the society especially the poor and needy, at the historic Bertram Hall on 30th of January 2015, as part of this ongoing initiative. Highlighting that the UNESCO has declared year 2015 as the ‘Year of Light’ she made an emphatic appeal to the students to make it as the ‘Year of Light and Vision’ by bringing the light of vision into the life of the visually impaired. She gave a real time feel of the despair undergone by the visually challenged by engaging the audience in an interesting exercise of holding their badges with just one of their eyes closed, a simple act which they found difficult to do and asking them to try and take a walk within their own homes with their eyes closed to experience the suffering that the visually challenged underwent all their lives.
Explaining that one of the reasons why the dear and near ones of the deceased person were apprehensive of donating the eyes is fear of disfigurement or mutilation of the face, she clarified that it was not the entire eye that was removed but only the cornea as it is only the cornea which is replaced to bring back vision, she highlighted that corneal blindness accounted for a staggering 5 million and it needs eye donation on a massive scale to overcome the situation. Srimathi Akila Ganesan made a spirited appeal to the students gathered to be the foot soldiers in the battle against blindness with each one of them taking a firm resolve that ‘the problem of India’s blindness is my problem’. She emphasized that each one of them could contribute to the upliftment of society, their locality and the neighbourhood which in turn will change the nation into a better place to live in all respects, She explained that their individual involvement in combating blindness will have a ripple effect which would ultimately crescendo into a mighty movement which would eradicate blindness from the face of the earth. The address drew great applause and appreciation and won many young hearts to the cause of eye donation.
This was followed by an address on the current eye donation scenario, various steps being taken for creating awareness and how students and the youth of the country could play a major role in this noble endeavour, by Shri S.V.G.Subramanian, Deputy Manager, CU Shah Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya