PROFILE OF SRI SANKARADEVA NETHRALAYA EYE BANK
Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya (SSN), the premier eye hospital & Postgraduate Institute of ophthalmology of the Northeast, established its own eye bank - Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya Eye Bank. It is a state-of-the-art unit registered under the 'Transplantation of Human Organs Act'and accredited by the Eye Bank Association of India, a parent body for controlling Eye Bank system in India, which, in turn, is controlled by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of Govt. of India. Incidentally, it is also the first accredited eye bank of the Northeastern India and one of the 7 eye banks that exist in the Northeast. Three medical colleges of Assam in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Silchar have their own eye banks, with the fourth, fifth and sixth being Jeuti Eye Bank in Jorhat, Lions Drishti Eye Bank in Dibrugarh and Mizoram Civil Hospital Eye Bank in Aizawl, Mizoram, respectively.
SSN Eye Bank was set up in the year 1998 and has since been catering to the eye bank service needs of the different communities of the Northeast.
The SSN Eye Bank which is a unit of Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya, is located in Guwahati city, the business hub of the northeastern region which is also the gateway to the Northeast.
The main causes for not meeting up with the community needs are - a) lack of awareness about 'eye donation' among masses, b) lack of a systemic eye banking structure, c) lack of Human Cornea Retrieval Programme (HCRP) and d) lack of eye donation centres in remote areas.
In India, about 1 million have 'Bilateral Corneal Blindness' and if this present trend continues, it is estimated that the number of Corneal Blind persons will increase to 10.6 million by 2020. This is unfortunate especially in view of the fact that 50% of them are treatable. Though there is continuous progress in eye donations over the last few years, still there is a huge gap between demand and supply of 'Human Corneas'.
In order to plug this gap and to create awareness among the masses regarding the noble cause of 'eye donation' , SSN Eye Bank has been approaching health personnel at various levels, more and more NGOs, different religious organizations, school children, teachers, voluntary organizations and responsible citizens.
Corneal disease is a public health problem and if one develops 'corneal opacity', restoration of vision is possible only through 'Corneal Transplantation'. In nearly half of the instances, it can be prevented or treated. For eye banks, the critical component is the availability of natural donor material - that is, 'Human Cornea 'retrieved from a donor's body after death.
SSN Eye Bank has been carrying out awareness programmes for propagating the idea of 'eye donation' in different parts of Assam from day one of its establishment and is grateful to all concerned for extending their wholehearted support and cooperation for this noble cause. SSN Eye Bank would be obliged for receiving the same support and cooperation from all concerned for the noble cause of 'eye donation' in the future as well, and at the same time makes an appeal to kindly include the same in your social / public programmes for creating awaress among the masses.
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