(Feature)Thru corneal donation, lost loved one continues to live in others

September 20, 2015 11:15 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Sept. 17 (PNA)–Death is something that many of us are afraid to discuss and even plan ahead much more of thinking that one of our loved ones will be succumbing to it one day.

But since it is inevitable and can happen anytime and we cannot argue with what is bound to happen, there will always be a desire for us to continue seeing those “precious” loved ones even if they are gone.

One way of doing that is by looking at their memories like old photographs.

Another way is by letting that “lost loved one” to continue to live in others.

According to Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines (EBFP) such is possible and perhaps a way to somehow lessen the grieving feelings while providing a way for other less fortunate people –those with no eye sight or blind people to live a productive life by making them see through corneal donation.

Dra. Dominga “Minguita” Padilla, EBFP chair and president said that corneal donation could be ideally or healthier to be accepted until 12 hours after a person is declared clinically dead.

Dr. Padilla added that if the corneas were refrigerated that ideal period for the donation could be lengthened until 18 hours.

Padilla said that while there were people willing to engage in the “act of giving to let others continue living”, still there were some who were afraid to donate the cornea of their lost loves ones for fear that the face or the head of the “donor” (their loved one) would be disfigured in its wake.

“No, cornea donation is not disfiguring. If it is retrieved, it is replaced with an eye cap similar to a contact lens so that the integrity of the eyeball is not disturbed nor is the face disfigured,” she explained.

She assured that the face and the eye area of the donor would still look natural when cornea was taken.

Cornea is the outermost, crystal like covering or layer of the eye. It is the main focusing element of the eye.

Vision will be dramatically reduced if the cornea is damaged from disease, injury or infection.

Through corneal donation, corneal transplant can be possible to save or restore the sight of corneally blind individual.

She also clarified that in corneal donation only the cornea is taken away and not the whole eye.

“Maybe what people should be thinking is the good side that after a person ends his life journey here on earth there will be people that will continue living through their “cornea” which will still function and can make other people productive,” she added.

She cited as an example, the case of Miko Sotto whose corneas were donated by her mother, a TV host and radio personality Ali Sotto, upon her death.

She added that the recipients of the Miko's corneas were now living a productive life and Ali is still engage in encouraging other mothers to the same “good act” so that the memory of their “lost son/daughter” can still be seen and felt with the recipients who will benefit from the corneal transplant.

Dr. Antonette Pascual, an ophthalmologist and member of EBFP said that indeed, corneal donation is an act that can produce positive effects in the lives and family of the recipient and even also in the society and as a nation.

“This single act of corneal donation can change a person lives and can really help a lot to many because the act in itself is helping the “blind” person and the people around him/her, his co-workers and others,” Dr. Pascual added.

Pascual cited that her blind patient before had stopped schooling but managed to resume his studies and continued excelling now among the tops in the classes after the corneal donations.

She added that in times of passing away of a loved one, most family enters a grieving stage wherein acceptance for the loss was something very difficult to do and even forget to engage in a worthwhile donation of cornea.

“But if we were able to give that part of our loved one,– like cornea for example was given away (through corneal donation), that part (cornea) can still continue to live in the lives of other people…In that way we are giving “light” (to the recipient) and allow him/her become an important part of the society just like the loved one that we had lost,” she added.

Donation of cornea and eye tissue can be done by filling out a pledge form and card.

There is no prescribed age for donor as long as the donor has no existing Hepatitis B, HIV (Human immuno-virus), Syphillis and cancer free.

Signing should be done in the presence or be witnessed by next-of-kin.

The donor card should be kept with the person inside their wallet.

EBFP was founded on March 17, 1994.

For other details for the corneal donation, they can contact EBFP or email them at eyebankpr@gmail.com or check their website at www.eyebankphil.com. (PNA)

RMA/LSJ

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