Ravindra Kumar Chowdhury1, Jayashree Dora2, Mamata Rani Nayak3, Pramod Kumar Sharma4, Jagadish Prasad Rout5
The blindness due to corneal aetiology accounts for 0.9% of blindness in India. Corneal transplantation is the major treatment option for them. The lower rate of eye donation is the major obstacle to this procedure. Twenty-two thousand eyes are collected every year in India, which only serve half the requirement of corneal transplantations. Medical students who are future medical practitioners can be a good motivator for this eye donation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
To assess the awareness of eye donation among medical students, we did a cross-sectional study enrolling 112 fourth year MBBS students on the occasion of eye donation fortnight in the year 2015. A pretested semi-structured questionnaire was given to each student to conduct the study.
All the students knew that eyes can be donated after death, but only 68.7% knew that the ideal time of donation was within 6 hours of death. Most students (88.4%) were willing to donate eyes. Eye donation can give vision to the blind was the motivational force for eye donation according to most of the students. Lack of awareness (87.5%) and objection by family members (61.6%) were the main perceived reason by the students for not pledging the eyes for donation. Television, newspapers, magazines and posters were found to be the important sources of information about eye donation.
The study revealed that though the majority of medical students were aware of eye donation practices, still there is lack of knowledge among students, which need to be considered. As the medical students are one of the knowledge group of community, their perception regarding non-donation of eyes by the people can be considered, while creating awareness about eye donation.