Sri Lankans being in close association
of the knowledge of the acts of donating eyes, bones, flesh and blood through
Buddhist chronicles came forward to donate their eyes in numbers, over 400
within the first week of such article. More surprisingly, some have opted to
donate one of their eyes even during their lifetime. The progression of the eye
donation service with such a beginning widened its horizon year by year and Dr.
Silva, with the objective of dispatching eyes to foreign countries, went on to
communicate with senior eye surgeons in the cities of New York, London,
Delhi, Singapore and Tokyo. As a result of all these activities, six eyes were
initially donated to the state hospital in Singapore on the 25 th of May 1964, a full
moon Poya Day and the eye sight of five persons was restored after surgeries
performed on them by its Senior Surgeon, Dr. Rocht Law. Following the wide
publicity given during the same week through newspapers world over and the
BBC Radio Service to this noble act, our eye donation service was able to open
its doors to the entire world.
Corneas are provided totally free of charge to hospitals in Sri Lanka whilst only
the surplus of eyes are donated to the foreign countries for surgery purposes. As
the drugs used to preserve the corneas when dispatched to foreign countries are
very expensive, such countries undertake to provide its expenditure as
donations. As of now, the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society has donated corneas
to hospitals in 57 foreign countries and is in the forefront of eliminating
blindness of nearly 113,000 eye patients locally and overseas.
The Human Tissue Bank which was founded by Dr. Silva in the year 1996 has
now become a very important institution for orthopedic patients in Sri Lanka.
The service rendered for the sake of our country by late Desabandhu Dr.
Hudson Silva by embarking on the concept of a tissue bank in an Asian country
like Sri Lanka is monumentally immortal as such a facility was kept confined
only to developed countries in the world. We were in a position to provide more
than ten thousand human tissues to our war heroes who were handicapped by
the gruesome war against terrorism and also to other disabled patients in the
country. Even though there are a number of tissue banks in the world, the
Human Tissue Bank of the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society stands out as the
only such bank that provides tissues free of charge. It indeed is a noble deed for
us to be very proud of.
Furthermore, our Society owns the sole production facility of contact lenses
situated in Sri Lanka. We provide very high quality contact lenses produced in
the contact lenses laboratory of our Society by specialist technologists trained
in Japan at a very nominal price.
Our Society owned Dr. Hudson Silva Memorial Eye Hospital and its operation
theatre established in Honor of our great Founder carries out examinations on
outdoor patients and performs cataract removal and other types of surgeries at
subsidized rates. The great meritorious act of affording the opportunity for 537
patients to regain eyesight in order that they could see the light of this world
was performed when they underwent surgeries to have Intraocular lenses after
removing cataract in their eyes totally free of charge under the patronage of the
Society on the 22 nd , 23 rd , and 24 th of October 2010 in parallel to the golden
jubilee of the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society. Also on that 22 nd day, the
Specialist Eye Surgeon Dr. Shamintha Amaratunge was able to achieve the feat
of a Guinness world record having been able to perform a series of surgeries to
remove cataract in the eyes of 246 patients within a period of 12 hours at the
Eye Donation Society.
The Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society has by now established over 300 actively
working branches across the whole of Sri Lanka and renders a yeoman service
to the entire world by obtaining eyes through such network of branches as well
as Eye Centers and through the technologists of the Headquarters. In addition to
that, our great Founder’s objective of seeing to the welfare of the blind has been
accomplished by way of restoring eyesight of the very needy patients contracted
with cataract numbering over 10,000 and also going on to cure many a person in
distress with visual impairment due to various reasons. As at present, more
than 1,200,000 forms of signed consent from people are on offer to donate eyes
and tissues. What we should do today to make the prime objective of our great
Founder, Dr. Hudson Silva a reality is make it a point to afford two separate
persons the fortune of seeing the light of the day through your very own pair of
eyes which are subject to decay after your death and also going on to donate
your human tissues, and heart valves and skin towards curing the patients in
need of them.
It indeed is a monumentally memorial event to declare the birthday of our great
Founder, the 18 th of December itself to coincide as the National Day of Eye
Donation by the Government following the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers
as proposed by the Hon. Minister of Health on the request of our Society in
appreciation of the magnanimous humanitarian service rendered by the Sri
Lanka Eye Donation Society.
Apart from all this, many religious events involving Pinkamas at various places
of worship are being held every year to invoke merits on late Desabandhu Dr.
Hudson Silva and the most generous public who devoted and donated their eyes
and tissues whilst our Society continues to go ahead with its mission of
distributing suitable pairs of spectacles free of charge following the examination
of visually impaired eyes of the needy poor having organized a host of such
events for them through the branch societies of eye donation of the SLEDS
situated throughout the island.