Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital has started building first-ever state-of-the-art eye bank in Pakistan in collaboration with an American NGO, “Eversight Vision”. For that purpose, Al Shifa Trust has started to collect corneal donations within the country.
An agreement has been signed between Al-Shifa Trust and Eversight Vision which will provide all the latest equipment, high technology, and impart necessary training to the doctors at Al-Shifa to safely recover and store cornea for transplants and to conduct research. President of Al-Shifa Trust Lt Gen (r) Hamid Javaid said that storage facilities of international standard are being built at the Al-Shifa Eye Hospital Rawalpindi premises where all the necessary equipment and procedures including removal of the cornea from the donor and testing the blood of the donor will be conducted.
Lt Gen (r) Hamid Javaid said that there is no facility in the country to store cornea and that is hindering the need to restore their eyesight. “Around 20,000 people are on the Al-Shifa’s waiting list who can become useful citizens in the society after receiving the gift of sight from the donors.”
He further said:
“We will create awareness to motivate people for eye donation as currently there are no donations from the country due to lack of awareness, cultural constraints, and absence of storage facilities leaving us dependent on the other countries.” “We are receiving free-of-cost cornea from the USA but the transportation cost is 600 dollars per cornea. We are conducting 80 corneal transplants per month, the highest number in Pakistan, which will be increased after the eye bank becomes operational in six months.”
He informed that advanced medical technology has increased the success rate to approximately 95 percent since the cornea has no blood supply, it is seldom subject to the rejections that plague other organ transplants.
The President of Al-Shifa stated that any individual who wants to donate cornea has to submit a will file after which he’s given a card which he should carry on a regular basis. The individual submitting the form is also requested to inform his relatives that he will donate cornea so that relatives can inform the hospital about the death of a person and there is no objection by the family members.
As soon as the hospital receives the information and approval from the deceased family, a medical group will be sent to take the cornea with due reverence and care. The donor cornea is then grafted to the ready blind affected person.