National Eye Donor Month 2014: Celebrating the Gift of Sight

For 31 years, Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) has commemorated National Eye Donor Month to promote awareness of the need to donate eyes, to recognize donors and their families, and to celebrate corneal transplant recipients. Each March a member of Congress has read a proclamation into the Congressional Record to note this special occasion. Each state has its own donor registry; this registry will allow you to donate your organs/tissue. If you are between 13 and 17 years old, you can join the online registry, but your parents will make the final decision about organ, eyes and/or tissue donation at the appropriate time.
What is the cornea?
The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer. It is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye.
What is corneal blindness?
When the cornea becomes cloudy, light cannot penetrate the eye to reach the light-sensitive retina. Poor vision or blindness may result.
What is a corneal transplant?
A corneal transplant involves replacing a diseased or scarred cornea with a new one.
Is the whole eye transplanted?
No – only the corneas can be transplanted. The entire eye may be used for research and education.
How prevalent is corneal transplantation?
There were 46,684 corneal transplants performed in the U.S. in 2012. Since 1961, EBAA member eye banks have provided 1,462,879 corneal grafts for transplantation.
How successful is corneal transplantation?
Over 95 percent of all corneal transplant operations successfully restore the corneal recipient’s vision.
Why should eyes be donated?
There is no substitute for human tissue. The transplantation process depends upon the priceless gift of corneal donation from one human to another. Donated eyes are also needed for research and education.
While I do not perform corneal transplants at Summit Eye Care, I wanted to share this information with you so that, should you decide to help give the gift of sight, you will know where and how to go about doing so. You can save lives by registering as a donor.
By putting your name on the Donate Life NC Online Registry, you consent to having your organs, eyes/corneas and/or tissue made available for transplantation upon death. You can register at the following website: https://www.donatelifenc.org/register.

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