Eye Donation Month is an opportunity to put a spotlight on the 12 million worldwide suffering from blindness that can be restored with a corneal transplant, honor the gift of sight by donors and their families, educate and raise awareness about donation and transplantation.
The term “Eye donation” is used often, in reality, there is no whole eye transplantation. While whole eye donations cannot be used for a transplant they can be used for research and education, leading to advancements in the understanding of conditions such as glaucoma, retinal disease, complications of diabetes, and other sight disorders which can lead to new treatments and potential cures. The typical eye bank will accept donations from the age of 2 to 70.
What is an eye bank? It is a nonprofit organization that obtains, evaluates, and distributes ocular tissue for transplant research and education.
Corneal transplants are the most common use for donated eye tissue. Each year approximately 47,000 corneal transplants are performed. The cornea is a clear dome-shaped covering of the pupil. Corneal transplants successfully restore vision to recipients 95% of the time.
Everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue. Unlike other tissue donation corneal donations there’s not too much blood type to the recipient.
There are three simple ways to become a donor:
- Sign up at your state’s department of motor vehicles
- Go to the national donate life registry at registerme.org
- Indicate your wishes in advance directives documents
It is essential to share these wishes with family and your physician