KATHMANDU, Jan 1: For Kailash Thakur, life was hard and not much bright until he got eye sight through a corneal transplant.
"My life has completely changed after I could see the world with my eyes following corneal transplant. Before this, every day was painful for me," he shared. But Thakur does not know who the Good Samaritan was who gave him the eye sight and made his life beautiful.
"Every time I see this beautiful world with my eyes, I keep on thanking the person, whoever he/she might be, for donating cornea so that I could see," Thakur expressed.
The life for Sabin Bogati was no different. Born blind, Bogati could not see the world around. He could only hear. His parents made every bit of effort to give eye sight to him. It had not materialized.
Bogati currently studies in Bachelor's level first year. He literally entered the world of light when he had corneal transplant of both eyes.
"When I saw the light after undergoing the eye transplant, I felt a different person. I was thrilled. There is difference between when you can see the world with your eyes and cannot. The person who donated the cornea that were transplanted upon me is God to me, although that person has left this world," he said.
According to Bogati, although he could see, the initial days were painful. "I could see but did not know the names of the things around. I gradually started learning the names. Before I had only heard the names of the things," he explained.
Bidur Lamichhane, who got eye sight after undergoing corneal transplantation two years back, says, "Let us spread the vision. If you donate eyes posthumously those who are blind will get eye sight with the help of the corneas you have donated. It instills a new life to the blind."
Cornea transplant specialist and Chief of the Cornea Department at the BP Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies, Dr Binu Chaudhary stresses on the need to make people understand that eye donation is the 'most pious and biggest' donation one can make. She suggests launching a public awareness campaign on this.
Dr Chaudhary sees the need for the government to pay attention to increasing the number of corneal surgeons and the medical appliances required for this. "The corneal transplant should not be centred only in Kathmandu. It should be expanded to places outside the capital also," she suggested.
In the words of senior comedy artist Hari Bansha Acharya, eye donation is the biggest donation in the world. "Not only the eyes, we should also donate other organs after our death. Although we are no more, those living will get back their eye sight and life," he said.
He was speaking at a programme organized here recently to pay tributes to those people who had donated their cornea. The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) organized the condolence programme.
"I even see that my spouse, the late Meera Acharya, is looking at me and she is living. I get the feeling that the person whom the cornea donated by Meera have been transplanted upon is looking at me with Meera's eyes," he said.
An eye bank was set up at TIO 23 years back for starting corneal transplantation service in Nepal. Chief Executive Officer at TIO, Dr Rita Gurung, said that positive thinking has increased towards eye donation.
Dr Gurung said, "We have set a target to provide eye bank service across the nation to make the country self-dependent to restore eye sight by corneal transplantation.
Consultants deployed from eye bank have been counseling and familiarizing people about eye donation at big three hospital of Kathmandu-- Bir Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Patan Hospital as well as Pashupati Aryaghat Electric Crematorium House. Now number of people donating eyes has increased, added Dr Gurung.
Manager at the Nepal Eye Bank, Shankha Narayan Twayana, said that eye donation should be developed as a culture.
Although corneas were brought from foreign countries in earlier days, now it has been started collecting cornea in the country.
More than 70,000 people have already donated eye cornea at Eye Bank posthumously and cornea has been transplanted on 12,500 people so far.
Corneal transplantation, considered as the important step to restore eye sight, was carried out in Russia in 1940 for the first time in the world. RSS