The Cause

The cause, for which Netram Foundation is working, is eye donation. Poor collection of cornea and Lack of awareness on eye donation in India is a major concern today.

Corneal diseases constitute a significant cause of visual impairment and blindness in the developing world. The number of corneal transplants done is far less than the actual requirement in India. This is largely due to the inadequate number of corneas collected.

Approximately 18.7 million people were blind in India in year 2000 which is estimated to have risen to 24 million by 2010. Of these 190,000 are blind from bilateral corneal disease. Every year, another 20,000 join the list. Even after more than 50 years, patients waiting for corneal transplants constitute a considerable backlog, which continues to grow and is currently estimated to be 4.6 million.

The need, therefore, is to educate the masses about eye donation in an effort to increase the procurement of corneas.

According to the Eye Bank Association of India, the current cornea procurement rate in India is 22,000 per year. It is estimated that a significant proportion of donor corneas are unsuitable for corneal transplantation and only 40% are ever used for transplantation. Based upon our current ratio of available safe donor eyes, we would need 277,000 donor eyes to perform 100,000 corneal transplants in a year in India. There is approximately a 20-fold increase from the donor eyes available now. The shortage of transplantable corneas is common and has been the subject of much attention.
Source: NPCB (National program for control of blindness).

The prime reasons for this shortfall are:

Lack of knowledge about eye donation

Religious Myths

Medical Reasons

Family/ Social objection

Lack of appropriate resources

Shortage of trained personnel to perform cornea retrieval

Limited accessibility of central helpline (1919)

News & Events