KARACHI: Pakistan’s first ever eye bank has become operations. President Arif Alvi addressing the inaugural ceremony said that around 20 million people in Pakistan are blind due to various eye diseases. Out of these, 200,000 people are blind because of corneal diseases and their eyesight can be restored with Cornea transplants.
Al Shifa Trust carries out over 800 eye transplants every year but it is a matter of concern that we do not have the trend of eye donations or good facilities for preservation of Cornea in Pakistan.
Speaking at a ceremony after inaugurating first-ever eye bank in Pakistan, President Atif Alvi said that it is very encouraging that Al-Shifa has established state-of-the-art eye bank in collaboration with Ever sight Eye Bank, USA to collect corneal donations.
He underlined the need to spread public awareness so that people start donating their eyes and urge the media and the public to take this challenge.
He said that it is a matter of great satisfaction that Al-Shifa would establish a chain of eye banks in other cities which will go a long way in providing sight to those who need it the most.
The President paid glowing tributes to the founder of the trust Lt Gen Jahan Dad Khan (Late) incumbent president of the trust Lt. Gen Hamid Javaid (Retd), its dedicated staff, Ever Sight Eye Bank, USA, and its representatives Mr. Colin and Mr. Erik for serving humanity through the prevention and control of blindness.
Speaking at the occasion, Hamid Javaid said that during the last 28 years we have moved from a simple hospital to one of the leading eye transplants facility on international standards, which is also recognized by WHO.
We are treating one million patients annually while seventy percent of the patients get all the support free of cost, he added.
Our focus is the children who are the future of our country and we screen almost 300,000 children every year through our school screening programme.
The cornea is being received free of cost from the USA but the transportation cost is almost $600 per cornea. There was no facility in the country to store cornea hindering the restoration of eyesight among needy while thousands remained on the waiting list, he informed.
Advanced medical technology has increased the success rate to approximately 95 percent since the cornea has no blood supply, it is seldom subject to the rejections like other organ transplants.