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    Eye banks create the cycle of giving

    Donated ocular tissue journeys from recovery to transplant


    The following examples are excerpts from correspondence between a donor mom and a recipient.6

    The donor mom wrote, “To know that my daughter’s corneas are helping you see the world more clearly has brought me much joy over the years.”

    The cornea transplant recipient wrote back, “Not one day goes by that I don’t think about my donor and give thanks.”

    Related: How to be a the tech your doctor can’t live without


    An additional service most eye banks provide to surgical facilities is a Handling of Human Eye Tissue Program. A representative can come out to a hospital or surgery center to verify compliance with joint commission standards and provide education on the best practices for inspection of the tissue, tissue information sheets, tissue labels, understanding post-operative outcome forms, and adverse reaction forms.

    The Cycle of Giving is complex but extremely successful in the United States. This success, however, is not met everywhere around the world and much more needs to be done.

    Today, only one in 70 corneas required to restore sight to all in need are available worldwide.  About half of the world is without access to corneal transplants, and the total need worldwide is estimated at more than 12 million. In order to fulfill this need and serve the global community, eye banks are working diligently to help develop eye banking in other countries.7

    In addition to helping develop eye banking practices around the world, eye banks are involved in developing alternative therapies to eliminate corneal blindness. Approaches such as the use of a selective portion of the cornea to help several patients, gene therapy, autologous endothelial cells, and synthetic corneas are all being researched.

    Eye banks will be working alongside corneal surgeons and researchers for optimal patient outcomes both today and in the future.

    Related: The technician’s role with anesthesia


    1. Crawford AZ, Patel DV, McGhee CN. A brief history of corneal transplantation: From ancient to modern. Oman J Ophthalmol. 2013 Sep;6(Suppl 1):S12-7.

    2. Lee WB, Meinecke E, Varnum B. The Evolution of Eyebanking and Corneal. Transplantation: A Symbiotic Relationship. Int Ophthalmol Clinics. 2013;53:115- 29.

    3. Chu W. The past twenty-five years in eye banking. Cornea. 2000 Sep;19(5):754-65.

    4. Eye Bank Association of America. 2015 Eye Banking Statistical Report. Available at: http://restoresight.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2015-Statistical-Report.pdf. Accessed 5/22/17.

    5.  Eye Bank Association of America. Vision-Restored Cornea Transplants Performed in 2013 Will Have a Lifetime Benefit of Nearly $6 Million. Available at: http://restoresight.org. Accessed 5/23/17.

    6.  Eversight Illinois. Vision. Spring 2017. Available at: http://eversightvision.org/illinois/about-us/publications.htm. Accessed 5/23/17.

    7. Gain P, Jullienne R, He Z, Aldossary M, Acquart S, Cognasse F, Thuret G. Global Survey of Corneal Transplantation and Eye Banking. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016 Feb;134(2):167-73.

    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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