14 % of the blindness in Pakistan is due to a diseased Cornea. It is curable through a transplant of a healthy Cornea. All over the world people donate their corneas after death in order to give the gift of sight to those who require a transplant. Unfortunately Cornea donations are virtually nonexistent in Pakistan which condemns over 3000,000 people to a life of darkness and destitution and this is growing.
Some transplants are conducted with Corneas donated by Sri Lanka which is not only self sufficient but surplus and gifts these for the cure of blind people in the Subcontinent. We can never really eliminate corneal blindness until Pakistanis agree to donate their corneas after their death. There were 2 major issues which prevented this in the past: (1) Legal frame work and (2) religious misconceptions. The Transplantation of Human Organ & Tissues Act 2010 addressed the first issue. On the second there are numerous fatwas/declarations from various eminent religious leaders of the Muslim world which endorse organ donation such as: the Highest Council of Scholars, Riyadh, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organisation of Islamic States and Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi to name a few.
LRBT has recently taken steps to create awareness amongst the general public about corneal donation and a campaign is also being launched to contact and encourage willing donors to fill in pledge cards for this purpose.
It has also set up a corneal transplant team in Karachi to collect tissues at a short notice from Hospitals or residences of the willing donors.
For more information and for all those willing to donate their cornea tissues as Sadqa e Jariya, please contact Department of Community Ophthalmology, LRBT Korangi Hospital at 021-35065556-7, 021-35061911.