National Eye Donation Fortnight: ENTOD Pharmaceuticals is Organising Nationwide Campaign to Encourage People to Donate their Eyes

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Supporting the government’s National Eye Donation Fortnight which is observed from 25th August to 8th September every year, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals is organizing a campaign to create awareness regarding the importance of eye donation
Highlights:
⦁ The focus of the #pledgemyeyes campaign is to make every Indian consider it their duty to pledge their eyes and make a real difference.
⦁ The initiative aims to reach out to more than 20 million people across the country
⦁ Each year, around 75,000 people with corneal blindness in the country are missing out on the opportunity to regain vision.
⦁ The magnitude of the issue is of grave concern as out of 10 million people with blindness in India, over two million are affected by corneal blindness and 60% of them are below the age of 12. 

New Delhi, 25th August, 2022 – Supporting the government’s National Eye Donation Fortnight which is observed from 25th August to 8th September every year, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals is organizing a series of activities across the country starting from today to create awareness regarding the importance of eye donation and to motivate people to donate their eyes after death. The focus of the #pledgemyeyes initiative is to make every Indian consider it their duty to pledge their eyes and make a real difference. ENTOD Pharmaceuticals is collaborating with leading ophthalmologists from around the country to celebrate and promote voluntary non-remunerated eye donation by educating the public on the necessity of eye donation. The initiative aims to reach out to more than 20 million people across the country and a number of social media influencers have also pledged to extend their whole-hearted support for the noble cause.
In India, nearly 68 lakh people suffer from corneal blindness in at least one eye and out of these, 10 lakh people are blind in both their eyes. Each year, around 75,000 people with corneal blindness in the country are missing out on the opportunity to regain vision. The reason being shortage of donated corneas. Of the approximately one lakh patients with the eye disease, only about 25,000 undergo corneal transplantation. The magnitude of the issue is of grave concern as out of 10 million people with blindness in India, over two million are affected by corneal blindness and 60% of them are below the age of 12.  Only an eye donation from a deceased person can help restore the sight of a corneal blind person. In addition to that, there are only 435 functional eye banks (EBs) and eye donation centres (EDCs) in India involved in the collection and distribution of donated eyes as per the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB). This amounts to nearly 1 EB/EDC per 3 million population. However, a majority of these are concentrated in urban regions. 
Also, some of the states are lagging behind in terms of eye donations. Maharashtra with 74 eye banks—which is 20 per cent of India’s eye banks—has managed 23,311 eye donations from March 2015 to July 2018. During the period, Telangana (two eye banks, 27,725 donations), Tamil Nadu (38 eye banks, 37,898 donations) and Gujarat (29 eye banks, 26,759 donations) have achieved higher targets. Assam only had 158 eye collections in 2017-2018 as compared to 1865 from West Bengal and 1263 from Orissa.
“Corneal blindness is one of the major causes of blindness in India which can be treated by corneal transplantation but the collection of cornea lacks the requirement. Therefore awareness regarding eye donation and also willingness to pledge for the same is the need of the hour. On the occasion of the National Eye Donation Fortnight, we will conduct eye donation awareness campaigns across the country and we have also created an online website https://www.pledgemyeyes.org/ in collaboration with the Eye Bank Association of India (EBAI). Through this website, anyone can pledge their eyes from the comfort of their home in simple steps and help a blind person see the world again. 
With this initiative, we wish to highlight that the barriers to eye donation are mostly due to misinformation and apprehensions about the proper utilization of the donated tissue. There are many misconceptions about different aspects of eye donation that we will address with this nationwide campaign at the grassroots level. We also recommend incorporating special lectures in schools and colleges on eye donation, educating the next generation through mass media and making eye donation a culture” said Mr. Nikkhil K Masurkar, CEO, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals.
“Corneal transplantation is, without doubt, the most successful of all organ transplant procedures, but it is dependent on people’s willingness to pledge their eyes for donation and close relatives to be keen to honour that pledge on the demise of the individual. Henceforth, there is a necessity for reasonable awareness concerning eye donation in the community. Awareness of adults can enlighten the community members as well as their relatives and can motivate them for eye donation which in term will enhance the eye donation rates” said Padmashree Prof. Dr S Natarajan, Founder of Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital (a unit of Dr. Agarwals Eye Hospital) 
About PledgeMyEyes
The pledgemyeyes.org is an initiative by Prof. Dr. S Natarajan that allows people to pledge their eyes from the comfort of their home in just two clicks and make someone’s life brighter and better. The focus of this initiative is to make every Indian consider it their duty to pledge their eyes and make a real difference.

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