Cornea Donation

A corneal transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces part of a person’s cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. Cornea donation is necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight.

2

A cornea donor can restore sight to 2 people.

78,000+

In 2023, eye banks provided tissue for more than 78,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants.

When is cornea donation needed?

The cornea is the clear dome-like window covering the front of the eye that allows the light to pass through to the retina, and enables us to see. According to the Mayo Clinic, a corneal transplant is a surgical procedure that uses donor corneal tissue to replace a person’s damaged corneal tissue. Did You Know: While we use the term “eye donation”, there is no whole eye transplantation. Most often only corneal tissue is recovered for transplantation. Corneal transplants restore sight to those suffering from vision loss mainly due to corneal blindness commonly caused by:
  • Trauma/infection to the cornea
  • Keratoconus (cornea becomes cone shaped)
  • Fuch’s Dystrophy
  • Pseudophakic Bullous Keratopathy
  • Corneal degeneration
Other reasons for corneal transplantation may include corneal injuries or infections.

Who can donate corneal tissue?

Everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue — the donor’s blood type does not have to match the blood type of the recipient. Age, eye color and eyesight are not factors either. Aside from those suffering from infections or a few highly communicable diseases, most people are potential cornea donors.

How can my donated cornea help?

A cornea donation can be lifesaving and lifegiving — corneal transplants can restore vision, reduce pain, and improve the appearance of unhealthy cornea. Since 1961, more than 2,000,000 men, women and children worldwide have had their sight restored through corneal transplantation. According to the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), eye banks provide tissue for more than 85,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants each year. 97% of all corneal transplant operations successfully restore the cornea recipient’s vision. There are 12 million cornea-blind individuals worldwide.

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