The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, on Tuesday, said organ donation was one of the noblest causes and appealed to everyone to participate in eye donation and inspire others.

Addressing the valedictory function of ‘National Eye Donation Fortnight’ organised by SAKSHAM (Samadrishti, Kshamata Vikas Evam Anusandhan Mandal), a charitable organization that works for the empowerment of the persons with disabilities, the Vice President described Netra Daan (eye donation) as Sreshth Daan (best donation).

Terming visual impairment as one of the major health challenges, the Vice President highlighted the fact that around 46 lakhs people suffer from blindness in India and most of them are in the 50+ age group.

Calling corneal blindness as the second leading cause of blindness after cataract with about 20,000 cases every year, Naidu expressed concern as most of the people affected in this category were young adults and children. He called for adopting preventive measures, early treatment and corneal transplantation surgery to address the challenge of visual impairment.

As corneal transplantation surgery requires cornea donors, Naidu emphasised the need to increase the number of eye donations to enable eventual eradication of corneal blindness in the country.

Drawing attention to the low numbers of organ donors in the country, he called for changing this mindset by spreading awareness as well as building adequate medical infrastructure for organ harvesting and transplantation at the district level.

He said that by donating an organ, one sets an example for others to work towards the larger good of the society and called upon every citizen, especially the youth to overcome apprehensions and pledge to donate their organs.