Eleven states and Union Territories, including Goa and Jammu and Kashmir, have no functional eye banks, according to official data.

Doctors, however, underlined that such banks alone dont serve the purpose as there is an increased demand for eye donors especially in view of the COVID-19 pandemic which exacerbated the situation.

According to the response to an RTI application filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur, there are a total of 320 functional eye banks in the country.

Eleven states and Union Territories — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim — have no functional eye banks, it said.

Dr Manisha Acharya, the medical director of eye bank at Dr Shroffs Charity Eye Hospital, said there are a total of 750 eye banks in India, but only some of them are fully functional, well-equipped, and responsible for 80 per cent of cornea collections in the country.

“A nationwide eye banking network is the need of the hour, with one well-equipped eye bank having trained professionals/counsellors affiliated with eye collection and retrieval centres to ensure better utilisation. This could be a solution because establishing an eye bank requires large investments and approval from numerous government regulatory bodies,” Acharya told.