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Eye bank aims to correct misconception

01/08/2018By Matthew Woodley
The Lions Eye Institute (LEI) is hoping to take advantage of the increased interest in organ donation during DonateLife Week to change perceptions related to eye donations.

Lions Eye Bank of WA manager, Ms Lisa Buckland said there is a prevailing misconception among potential eye donors that only “good eyes” are used for tissue transplantation and medical research.

However, she said medical researchers were often particularly interested in receiving eye tissue donations from people with eye disease, as it helped contribute to greater scientific understanding of the disease and could lead to the development of new treatments.

“At the Lions Eye Bank of WA, we collect, process and distribute corneal and scleral tissue for transplantation, but also to advance medical research – helping scientists develop the treatments and cures that could transform lives in the future,” she said.

Buckland also pointed out that while people who wear glasses and those with macular degeneration, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy were also potential donors.

“None of these conditions or treatments affects the cornea, which is used in corneal transplants for people with a range of eye diseases, infection or trauma,” Buckland said.

Last year, Lions Eye Bank performed 250 corneal transplants using donated corneas and overall, it has completed almost 5,000 procedures.

“That is 5,000 people who have had their sight restored through the generosity of people whose wishes to become donors were fulfilled,” Buckland said.

“That is a remarkable legacy.”

DonateLife Week runs from July 29 to August 5.

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