Bangalore - 080 - 28542727/28 Coimbatore(R.S Puram) - 0422 - 4256789 Vijayawada - 0866 - 2434629 Ludhiana - 0161 - 2881123 Coimbatore(Sathy Road) - 0422 - 2666450 Guntur - 0863 - 2293903 Krishnankoil - 04563 - 289029 Anand - 02692-280450 Shimoga - 08182 - 222099 Kanpur - 0511-2282451
Sankara Eye Bank at Sankara Eye Foundation holds a very special place;
it was here that the journey toward bringing light into the lives of millions
began. Today, Sankara Eye Bank, a model for the country, gets a pair
of donor eyes almost every day. Thousands have benefitted from this gift of
sight, through corneal transplant surgeries. ‘Paropakarartham idam sareeram’ (This body is meant to serve
others) -- this is the guiding principle for Sankara Eye
In the early days the main reason why Eye Banks were not very successful in India was because of the lack of awareness. Eye transplant in the late 1970s and 1980s in India was a rather complicated affair. It was against many odds that new eye care teams such as team Sankara worked during those early years. Preservation techniques were not very advanced, the ratio of donors to recipients was very poor and modest transport connections between places added to the woes. Many of the live corneas came from Sri Lanka - with a high Buddhist population, the island nation's people believed that donating atleast one organ was vital to attain salvation. However, these could be preserved only for 72 hours and often, the cost of transportation would be far greater than the cost of the transplant itself! Many eye banks had been set up but owing to logistic and other inconveniences, these ideas were abandoned almost soon after they had begun. There was one eye bank set up in Gujarat that was moderately successful. However, much needed to be done and setting up an eye bank was rarely encouraged or dreamed of.
But one man did. The year was 1985. Dr. R.V. Ramani and his wife, Dr. Radha Ramani had spent the last eight years, offering subsidised medical care to a host of people at the Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Centre. At the behest of the Seer of the Mutt, they began to look at avenues where their professional care could reach out to more people. The Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Centre was established in 1977. With contributions from philanthropists and help from the medical fraternity, the centre grew to one of the most eminent health care centres in Coimbatore. Our dream of establishing an eye care medical institute happened because we believed that we could make a tangible difference to people's lives.
And slowly, the rewards came trickling in. Soon, voluntary donations happened and soon enough, the Sankara Eye Bank became one of the model eye banks for the entire nation.
The background - A Case Study
Basila (16), daughter of Kunahamed hailing from Kannur in Kerala, was suffering from a hereditary eye disease, causing visual impairment. As she grew older, the disease also developed, leaving her almost blind with corneal opacities. Her parents consulted a number of eye surgeons but to no avail. Her parents brought her to Sankara Eye Centre in Coimbatore in 2006, where Dr. J.K Reddy, Director – Technical, diagnosed her condition as Congenital Hereditary Endothelial Dystrophy in both the eyes. The girl was advised Penetrating Keratoplasty. After thorough evaluation, Basila underwent corneal transplantation under general anesthesia on both the eyes within a gap of two months. Her sight fully restored, she now leads a happy and joyful life with her parents.
In the year 1985, Sankara Eye Care Institutions (now Sankara Eye Foundation) opened their account in eye banking and corneal transplant surgeries. Eye donations, once considered taboo, became popular; the corneas from donor eyes are now transplanted on to the eyes of cornealy blind persons, thus bringing light to the sightless.
Donated human eyes are necessary in restoration of sight through corneal transplantation.
Infants born with cloudy corneas have an opportunity to see following corneal transplantation.
Additionally it is also useful in Research and Education.