Pune to host Tenth National Conference on cornea and eye banking

The countries which have having successful retrieval and transplantation programs shall share their processes and procedures and the eye banking experts from India can then jointly draw a road map by adapting these systems to suit the Indian framework


PBMAS’s H V Desai Eye Hospital under the aegis of Poona Ophthalmological Society and Maharashtra Ophthalmological Society will host the Tenth National Conference on Cornea and Eye Banking – Annual Convention of Eye Banks Association of India (EBAI). While the Eye Bank Leadership summit was held on September 7, the National Conference on Cornea and Eye Banking will be held on 8 and 9th September at Suzlon Hall opposite Magarpatta.

Col. Dr Madan Deshpande, Trustee PBMA and Medical Director HV Desai Eye Hospital informed that National Conference in Pune will definitely boost the efforts of eye banking at HVDEH and motivate the western region to collect more tissues and reduce the corneal blindness.

“Already HV Desai Eye Hospital in partnership with B.J. Medical College and Sasoon Hospital, Pune has emerged as the highest volume quality eye bank in the region and in making co-ordinated efforts to get support for Government and Private Hospitals through Sightlife. We are collecting over 1000 tissues per year and utililisation is over 70 %post the introduction of HCRP [Hospital Cornea Retrieval Program] which help us to get more young donors, so we are doing more Corneal Transplants for children & young recipients. So far we, at H.V.Desai eye bank, have collected total of 7210 and have done 3455 transplants,” said Deshpande.

Dr Rajesh Kapse said, “Corneal blindness is the world’s 4th common cause of blindness. Today, there is an estimated 1.1 million Indians awaiting a corneal transplant – many of whom require transplants in both the eyes. Their sight restoration is dependent on timely access to suitable corneal tissue donated by the family members of the deceased. After demise, a person’s family may decide to donate eyes or the person himself / herself may have expressed his / her wish to donate eyes and the family members may be fulfilling the last wish for the benefit of the society to mitigate the difficulties of the persons suffering from avoidable and curable blindness.

India requires 100,000 transplantable tissues every year to meaningfully address the 1.1 million backlogs in the country. As per the present global utility percentage as well as national utility percentage we are looking at a figure of 200,000 corneal tissues i.e 100,000 donors. In the year 2017-18 the retrieval of donor corneal tissue was 57,138 i.e. 28,500 donors, way behind the 100,000 donors we are aspiring for.

Dr Shilpa Joshi said, “Combating corneal blindness is not just about patient and surgeon involvement, but introduction of an additional element in the form of donor throws up a whole lot of additional requirements. Combating corneal blindness needs a multi domain integration i.e. corneal surgeon, eye bank technician, counsellor, manager, social worker etc. to address issues related to donor information and education, recipient information and education, retrieval, processing, storage, transplant and post-transplant care. Eye Banking in India has been growing steadily and has potential to grow at a faster pace.”

She added that the aim of such conference is to develop a comprehensive strategy to address various challenges viz retrievals, tissue sharing, surgical capacity, training, data collection, medical standards, advocacy, networking and resource mobilisation.