HYDERABAD, India — A three-tier eye banking model aims to optimize existing resources in India and make quality corneas available to all segments of the population, a speaker said here.
The new model, already approved by the Indian Ministry of Health, may bridge the gap that currently exists between donor cornea need and availability.
“Against a requirement of 200,000 donor corneas for an annual performance of 100,000 transplants, only 20,000 corneas are utilized,” Usha Gopinathan, PhD, president of the Eye Bank Association of India, said at the joint meeting of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and All India Ophthalmological Society. “Resources are there also in terms of knowledge and skill, but we need to pool them and reorganize them on a national scale.”
Of the 600 registered eye banks, only 15 are full-fledged eye banks, while the others are classified as eye donation centers, she said.
“The new model aims at having one eye bank per 20 million population, for a total of 50 eye banks. Five of these could be eye bank training centers. Each eye bank should be linked to 40 eye donation centers and 10 hospitals for the procurement of corneas,” Gopinathan said.
All eye banks should have a large donor base and be self-sustainable, independent and distributed equally throughout the country, she said.
“With 50 eye banks collecting on average 200 corneas each and 2,000 eye donation centers collecting 50 corneas each, we should be able to achieve the target number of 200,000 corneas per year,” Gopinathan said.
Disclosure: Gopinathan has no relevant financial disclosure.