Purpose: Awareness of eye donation and willingness to pledge eyes for donation was assessed in the urban population of Hyderabad, India, where corneal blindness is a significant problem.
Methods: A total of 2522 subjects of all ages, representative of the Hyderabad population, participated in the Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study. Subjects >15 years old were interviewed regarding awareness of eye donation and willingness to pledge eyes for donation.
Results: Age-gender-adjusted prevalence of awareness of eye donation was 73.8% (95% CI: 66.5-81.0%) but only 1.9% (95% CI: 0.16-3.66%) had pledged eyes. With multivariate analysis, significantly less awareness of eye donation was found in illiterate subjects (OR 0.1; 95% CI: 0.1-0.14), subjects > or =70 years old (OR 0.3; 95% CI: 0.2-0.6), subjects of lower socio-economic status (OR 0.4; 95% CI: 0.3-0.6), females (OR 0.6; 95% CI: 0.5-0.8) and Muslims (OR 0.7; 95% CI: 0.6-0.9). Media was the major source of information about eye donation. Of those aware of eye donation, 44.9% were willing to pledge eyes. Willingness to pledge eyes for donation was significantly lower in Muslims (OR 0.18; 95% CI: 0.13-0.24) than in Hindus and in subjects > or =60years old (OR 0.3; 95% CI: 0.2-0.5).
Conclusions: These data show that although only a few had pledged eyes there is enough potential in this population for obtaining many more corneas for transplantation. The information about distribution and demographic associations of awareness and willingness for eye donation could help in developing strategies to increase procurement of corneas for dealing with corneal blindness.