Anshul Kumar Sarma
As a 17-year-old, my best friends are my phone and my laptop. Whether I use them for studies or for entertainment, it is extremely difficult for me to imagine my life without them. These are just two very minor things that I use my eyes for. I cannot even start to fathom what the blind go through, not being able to see the world around them. How they grope in the dark and bump into obstacles, trying to find their way. It truly saddens me. But every cloud has a silver lining, and, in this case, it is that certain types of blindness (e.g.- corneal blindness) can be cured through corneal transplants.
Drushti Daan, which quite literally means “donating eyesight”, is an NGO registered with the Government of Odisha since 2002. It has been relentlessly working towards the cause of eye donation (cornea donation) and the cure of corneal blindness for the past 18 years. Corneal blindness is caused when the cornea of the eye turns opaque, preventing light from entering the eyes. Corneal eye donation does not mean removing the entire eye of a person but instead, only the cornea (i.e. the outermost layer of the eye). By transplanting the healthy cornea of a deceased person onto the eyes of a corneal blind, his/her eyesight can be restored.
This costs the donor nothing and on the other hand brings good wishes for him/her and his/her family from the donee for gifting him/her eyesight. Eye donation, unlike other forms of donation, is done only after the death of a person. This means that the donor has nothing to lose by donating his/her eyes. Rather than the cornea being buried or cremated along with the deceased, and ultimately going to waste, it can help another person see again. This can be viewed with a positive outlook in the sense that the deceased continues to see the world through the eyes of someone else. Charity is the voluntary giving of help, by someone who has the means, to those in need. Since we have no use for our eyes after our death, why not help somebody along the way?
Can any of us reading this article do so without our eyes? So, why not give somebody else the opportunity to read and see as well? Usually, we relate charity to something which involves the spending of money. However, this charity does not affect us monetarily and at the same time, adds meaning to someone’s life. I am only 17 years old and that is why I cannot legally pledge my eyes. However, if pledging my eyes can help somebody see again, I would most happily and willingly do so as soon as I soon as I attain the age of majority.
Eye donation or any form of organ donation is not a taboo. All religions propagate that we should help our fellow human beings and save lives however we can. So, let us resolve to do what we can to aid a visually impaired person, by donating our eyes. “DO NOT BURN. DO NOT BURY. DONATE EYES. GIVE EYESIGHT.”