The gift of sight is so common here, it's become an unwritten symbol of pride and culture for Sri Lanka, an island of about 20 million people located off the southern coast of India. Despite recently emerging from a quarter century of civil war, the country is among the world's largest cornea providers, Fox News said.
It donates about 3,000 corneas a year and has provided tissue to 57 countries over nearly a half century, with Pakistan receiving the biggest share, according to the nonprofit Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society. The organization began promoting eye donation decades ago, but has since faced allegations of mismanagement and poor quality standards.
The supply of corneas is so great in Sri Lanka that a new, state-of-the-art government eye bank opened last year, funded by Singapore donors. It has started collecting tissue from patients at one of the country's largest hospitals, hoping to add an additional 2,000 corneas to those already shipped abroad annually. Nearly 900,000 people have also signed up to give their eyes in death through the Eye Donation Society's longstanding eye bank.
The desire to help transcends social and economic barriers. Prime ministers pass on their corneas here along with the poorest tea farmers. Many Sri Lankans, about 67 percent of whom are Buddhist, believe that surrendering their eyes at death completes an act of "dana," or giving, which helps them be reincarnated into a better life.
Read the full article at: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/23/sri-lanka-donates-eyes-to-world/