Sankara Nethralaya
Sankara Nethralaya
Eye Bank
Take a pledge to donate your eyes
Frequently Asked Questions

There are currently an estimated 15 million blind people in India. 6.8 million of these suffer from corneal blindness with vision less than 6/60 in at least one eye, and of these, about 1 million have bilateral corneal blindness. If the present trend continues, it is expected that the number of corneally blind individuals in India will increase to 8.4 million in 2010 and 10.6 million by 2020.

Of these at least 3 million can be benefited by corneal transplantation. Thus, to effectively meet the ever growing demand, we need around 150,000 corneal transplants to be performed every year.

C U Shah Eye Bank

The C U Shah Eye Bank started functioning in Sankara Nethralaya from September 1979. The department of Medical Sociology was established in 1990 with the aim of promoting awareness on eye donation by educating and motivating the public for this noble cause. The C U Shah Eye Bank, over the last 30 years, has seen a tremendous increase in the number of eye donations. From a mere 8 eyes in 1980, 1204 eyes were collected in 2017.

Exclusive Facilities:
24 hours round-the-clock service.
Dedicated phone line (24 Hours ) 044-28281919
Direct line to the Manager, Medical Sociology, 044-2822 6694.
Structured procedure for procurement and corneal button processing with sterile precautions under laminar flow.
Evaluation of donor tissue by Slit Lamp, Specular Microscopy
Appropriate serological screening of the donor blood sample.
Preservation in storage media.
A suitable patient is called upon and corneal transplantation surgery is performed as early as possible.


What is Cornea?

The cornea is the clear, transparent layer in front of the "black portion" of the eye. It is also the main focusing surface, which converges light rays as they enter the eye to focus on the retina. It is, therefore, the most important part of the optical apparatus of the eye. Loss of transparency directly results in loss of vision.

What is Corneal Transplantation?

A Corneal transplant is a surgery through which the opaque cornea is replaced with a clear cornea obtained from a human donor eye.

Before Surgery After Surgery
How does a cornea become opaque?

Who can be an eye donor?

Practically anybody from the age of 1 year. There is no upper age limit. People who wear spectacles, who have undergone cataract surgery, diabetics and those who have hypertension can donate their eyes. People blind from retinal or optic nerve disease can also donate their eyes.

The ultimate decision about usage for transplantation will be made after evaluation.

Can the next-of-kin consent to a donation if the deceased family member hasn't signed a pledge form?


How can I be of help on the death of a close relative or friend?

Motivate the next of kin of the deceased person to donate their eyes. Eyes need to be collected within 6 hours of death so call your nearest eye bank at the earliest. You are authorized to donate the eyes of your beloved relatives at the time of their death, even if a pledge for donation has not been made earlier by the deceased.

What should I do till the Eye Donation team arrives?

Keep the eyes of the deceased closed and cover it with moist cotton.
Switch off the overhead fan.
Raise the head end of the body by about 6 inches, if possible - to decrease the incidence of bleeding during the removal of the eyes.
If possible, instill antibiotic eye drops periodically.

What is the sequence of events in Sankara Nethralaya once I call?

A call for donating eyes sets in motion the Eye Bank machinery and a team is dispatched within 15 minutes. At the site, the eyes of the deceased are enucleated without causing any disfigurement. This procedure takes about 10-15 minutes.

Who cannot be a donor?

Death from unknown cause.
Death due to infectious caused viz. Rabies, syphilis, infectious hepatitis, septicemia, and AIDS.
Any frank ocular infection, previous refractive surgery.

Can the whole eye be transplanted?

No. Only the cornea and sclera can be transplanted. However, the entire eyeball is enucleated, to enable the corneo-scleral disc to be fashioned surgically in a sterile environment.

Can a living person donate his/her eyes?


Can the recipients be told who donated the eyes?

No. The gift of sight is made anonymously.

Any specials phone no. for eye bank and eye donation?

Yes, a dedicated special phone: 044-28281919 and 044 28271616

Our appeal

Take a pledge to donate your eyes

Motivate and educate others about eye donation.
In case any death incidents; motivate the next of kin of the deceased person to donate their eyes. Call your nearest eye bank.

For emergencies, more details and making your eye donation pledge, please contact:

Eye Bank, Sankara Nethralaya,
Jagadguru Kanchi Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi
Nethra Nilayam (JKCN Complex) (HTP Block 5th floor)
No. 21, Dr.S.S.Badrinath Road
Chennai 600 006, Tamil Nadu, India.
PH: 044-28281919 , 044 42271830, 044 28226694.

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