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    Eye banks create the cycle of giving

    Donated ocular tissue journeys from recovery to transplant


    Someone in need

    The Cycle of Giving begins with the need for ocular tissue.

    It could be an individual with a progressive eye disease requiring a corneal transplant to preserve or restore his sight. It could be someone suffering from glaucoma who needs a piece of sclera for her glaucoma shunt. Or, it could be a scientist in need of human ocular tissue to take his research to the next level.

    Related: The ethics of care for technicians

    The reasons may vary but the necessity is always there (Figure 2).

    A charitable act

    Next in the Cycle of Giving is the selfless act of individuals who committed to being a donor upon their passing or a family’s willingness to authorize the donation on behalf of their loved one.

    At the time of their passing, hospitals are required by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conditions of participation to report the death to their designated Organ Procurement Organization (OPO).

    Related: Reviewing ocular specialty testing

    The OPO will then triage the donor’s information to the eye bank contracted with the hospital. The state’s first-person authorization registry will then be checked to see if the decedent chose to be a donor. If so, the eye bank will contact the next of kin (NOK) to inform them of their loved one’s wishes and to ask a series of medical and social history questions. If the decedent is not on the registry, the NOK will need to provide authorization in order to move forward with donation.

    The medical and social history screening obtained by the eye bank, as well as a review of the donor’s medical information and records, is used to uncover any potential contraindications for donation as deemed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This process is critical to ensuring the safety of ocular tissue for transplant.

    Diane M. Hollingsworth
    Diane M. Hollingsworth has served as executive director of the Illinois Operations of Eversight since August 2010. Diane is an active ...


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