Sunday, March 24, 2013

Please, let there be light!

She was standing at the bus stop, waiting for her bus to arrive. As a bus neared the stop, she tried to figure out if it was her route. Alas! She could not read the number board. She had been experiencing this for a few days now. It seemed as though the world was gradually blurring right in front of her. In the next few months, she completely lost her vision. Doctors exchanged glances, raised eyebrows. Diagnosis:  ‘Retinitis Pigmentosa’. She was blindfolded for life.

When one door closes, another opens. When one sense shuts down, another sharpens. In fact, all the others do. Undeterred, she pursued her passion for music. She developed an uncanny ability to memorize long verses and passages. She exercised great sense of caution in whatever she did. She completed her formal education and landed a government job. She learnt cooking. She got married and mothered a handsome boy. The lady in question is one of those women who inspire me in every way, every day. She is someone who is very close to me and my heart. Holding her hand and guiding her has been one of the most gratifying moments of my life.

What I find terribly unfortunate is that her condition is irreparable. But there are so many others who aren’t that unfortunate; there are those who cling on to hope.  Hoping that they would get an eye for transplant. Some die after living a life of unfulfilled hope.

So where are these eyes? Where do they come from? They come from dead people, WITHIN SIX HOURS OF DEATH. They come from all kinds of people, - young, old, people who met with accidents; people who lived to die a natural death, people who had cataracts, people who had eye power etc. All these eyes are perfectly fit to be donated. But considering statistics, they don’t seem to come in great numbers. This is one area where demand grossly exceeds supply. Even those, who pledged to donate their eyes, leave the world without their last wish fulfilled, just because some relative thought eye donation is gross or someone felt too embarrassed to bring up the topic or simply, no one bothered.

Image courtesy: yash.info and google search


Charity begins at home. Change begins at home too.  Here are a few things that each one of us can do to help change the situation:

1. Bust the myths. Donating eyes does not leave scars. Nor does it disfigure the face. In fact, one cannot make out that the eyes have been donated. I've personally witnessed this in my family, so take my word.
2. Don’t hesitate to talk about it with the close relatives of the deceased. It’s okay if they think you are a bad person. It’s OKAY to be called a bad person if there is hope of someone regaining vision.
3. Store eye bank numbers in your emergency number list. If you are in India, just remember you can dial 108 and they may be able to guide you. You may be the bereaved, but do not let your emotions overcome you at the moment. Think about it – your loved one will continue to see the world through someone’s eyes.
4. Spread the word. Remember, pledging your eyes isn't a big deal. Actually donating them is. Actually calling an eye bank on time is. Talking to your friends and relatives and making them donate their loved one's eyes is.


An NGO, which has been striving for this cause is NayanaJyothi, founded by the very enterprising Mr. Jayaraman.  They have been attacking the problem at various levels, be it awareness, logistics, training and implementation etc. and have been successful to some extent. I’d like to help this organization in whatever way I can and play a small part in their strides towards a noble goal and cause.


A life lived in dreams,
In hues of black and white,
Let the colours splash,
Let there be light!

Mortal bodies as vehicles,
Immortal souls alight
Leaving behind the eyes, for
Let there be light!

Endless days of hope
And a life fraught with fright,
For all those tormented souls,
Let there be light!

Millions of lives
Struggling day and night,
For all those who deserve,
Let there be light!

Image courtesy: dreyeins.info and google search




P.S 1: Did you know? Every pair of eyes taken from a person is used to illuminate the lives of two! Yes, eyes are so scarce that even if the receiver is fully blind in both the eyes, he gets only one eye.  (The team from the eye bank who came to take my granny's eyes told me this)

P.S 2: This post is my small contribution to the 'ISB iDiya-Indiblogger Indichange initiative'. Find more details about this here.

8 comments:

  1. Absolutely agree.. There shouldn't even be a second side to take on this topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True Jayanth, every other person has pledged for eye donation but less than half of their eyes are actually donated. So, it's not just about the individual, it's about the family members too. Talking about this in family circles is very important.

      Delete
  2. I always wanted to donate my eyes..But never done that till now..After reading your post, I thought its high time I should do it right now.Thats it..went to http://nayanajyothi.org/ and pledged my eyes for donation.. Also made my colleague Priya do the same.. She said your post is very inspiring..Keep up the good work..Love you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a bunch Anu! Now that you have pledged your eyes, do talk about it to your family and friends. Let them know about your intention. Very heart-warming to know that your friend pledged her eyes too. Btw, love you too :)

      Delete
  3. Very moving. We all should look after our eyes and donate them for others to see after our death.

    www.anucreations.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anupama!! Please do! By the way, thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  4. I have Keratoconus and run the risk of waking up blind one day. So yes, this post talks of a topic which is close to my heart. Thanks for writing and sharing and I hope you win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Take good care Sonia. All will be well.

      Delete