An AFP story about Sri Lankan eye donations has been making the rounds. Around Colombo 7 there’s a sign that says ‘eye donations this way’, which I always found a bit odd. There’s also old images like the above, of a Bodhisattva donating an eye (in Mulkirigala). Turns out its not so odd after all, Sri Lanka is among the top cornea providers in the world.
Sri Lanka donates about 3,000 corneas a year and has provided tissue to 57 countries over nearly a half century, with Pakistan receiving the biggest share, according to the nonprofit Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society…
The U.S. is the world’s biggest cornea provider, sending more than 16,000 corneas to other countries in 2010, according to the Eye Bank Association of America. But Sri Lanka, which is 15 times smaller, actually donates about triple that number of corneas per capita each year.
There is no waiting list for eye tissue in Sri Lanka, and its people get first access to free corneas. About 40,000 have been transplanted locally since the beginning, but that still leaves a surplus each year.
Pakistan, an Islamic country where followers are typically required to be buried with all parts intact, has received some 20,000 corneas since overseas donations began, Cassim said. Egypt and Japan are two other major recipients, receiving 8,000 and 6,000 corneas respectively to date, he said. (AFP, via Yahoo)
The culture of eye donation seems to run quite deep, it’s an interesting story. Leo Burnett also tweeted this recent ad they did to encourage donations.
I don’t suppose I’m doing anything with my eyes after I’m done. I think the numbers to register as a donor are 0112698040, 41, 43 or 0115742929.