The country that supplies eyes (Corneas)

The country that supplies eyes (Corneas)

The country that supplies eyes (Corneas)

To restore sight to damaged eyes, doctors often need to transplant the cornea - the transparent covering of the iris and the pupil - from a donor's dead body. There is a worldwide shortage, but one country, Sri Lanka, is doing its best to satisfy demand, without seeking any reward - at least in this life.

Bandages cover Paramon Malingam's right eye. A tear appears in the left one. It is the relief of a very lucky man. "I thought I was going to live the rest of my life with one eye," he says.

Thirteen years ago, Malingam, a shop owner from central Sri Lanka, cut his eye with steel wire. Last year, he injured the same eye with a piece of wood. After both accidents, a new cornea from a donor saved his sight.

The cornea is the clear front part of the eye, which lets in light and helps focus images on the retina.

Diagram of a cross-section of the human eye

To restore sight to damaged eyes, doctors often need to transplant the cornea - the transparent covering of the iris and the pupil - from a donor's dead body. There is a worldwide shortage, but one country, Sri Lanka, is doing its best to satisfy demand, without seeking any reward - at least in this life.

Bandages cover Paramon Malingam's right eye. A tear appears in the left one. It is the relief of a very lucky man. "I thought I was going to live the rest of my life with one eye," he says.

Thirteen years ago, Malingam, a shop owner from central Sri Lanka, cut his eye with steel wire. Last year, he injured the same eye with a piece of wood. After both accidents, a new cornea from a donor saved his sight.

The cornea is the clear front part of the eye, which lets in light and helps focus images on the retina.

Diagram of a cross-section of the human eye

When it's damaged, as a result of injury or disease, a person's sight deteriorates, sometimes to the point of blindness.

Often the only solution is a transplant, but in many countries donated corneas are in short supply - a situation aggravated by the fact that they have a brief shelf-life.

Harvesting of the eye must happen within a few hours of death and the cornea itself must be used on a patient within about four weeks, depending on the storage method.

Dated : 01/01/1970, 00:00 AM

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