Claretians open new eyesight facility in Karnataka

The centre is part a project by Claretian Fathers near Bengaluru. Some 39 million people are visually challenged worldwide, about a third in India. Only 30,000 Indians donated their eyes out of 9 million who passed away last year.


New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A new eye centre has opened in the Indian state of Karnataka. Project Vision Eye Care Campus is located at Kasapura Gate, about 100 kilometers from the state capital of Bengaluru (Bangalore).

The facility is part of Project Vision, an initiative undertaken by Claretian Fathers to raise awareness about blindness and increase cornea donations. The project is the brainchild of Fr George Kannanthanam who set out to give sight to the blind and help the blind live a meaningful life.

The new facility was inaugurated on 23 June, and includes a clinic to provide eye care services. Deputy Chief Minister Parameshwara Gangadharaiah was present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Fathima Anshi, a visually challenged child prodigy sang and played an electric keyboard.

The Deputy Chief Minister said he would donate his corneas, hoping others would do the same. "When I die,” he said, “my eyes will not go into the ground. They will give sight to two blind persons.”

Worldwide, about 39 million people have some form of visual impairment, one third of them live in India. Their survival is endangered due to the physical, social, psychological and economic challenges that their condition entail.

Fr Kannanthanam began Project Vision in 2013. Its motto is ‘Let everyone see’. So far it has received the support of 500,000 people, who have committed themselves to organ donation upon their death, including a group of nuns.

At least 300 blind Indians have had their sight restored through corneal transplant via the project. However, only 30,000 Indians out of the 9 million who died last year donated their eyes.

According to Father Kannanthanam, if all Christians in India donated their eyes, the Christian community alone could provide sight to all the blind in the country.