This March celebrates the 30th Anniversary of National Eye Donor Month. President Reagan in 1983 proclaimed March as National Eye Donor month to bring awareness of the need to donate eyes. There are tons of people waiting in the USA and other countries for organs and the process to donate your body or other parts is very simple. For me, I called UCSD, got a form, filled it out, mailed it back and put the information in my will.
Did you know the first successful corneal transplant was in Olomouc, Moravia on December 7, 1905. Corneal Transplants have a 93% success rate after one year.
Eye Just Got To Tell Ya:
- In India- only 30% of donated eyes are used for treatment of corneal blindness.
- India is home to 1.2 blind people of which three million suffer due to corneal disorders, and 26% of them are children. India needs at least one lakh donated eyes annually.
- Donation of the eyes gives sight to TWO Corneally blind persons,
- Last year, more than 42,000 grafts were made available for transplant by eye banks within the United States. (Source Donate Life)
- annually, 1,100 people have their sight restored through tissue provided by The Eye-Bank.
- 2009-10) 3100 people had their sight restored by corneas supplied through NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) an increase of 12% on the previous year.
- 2009-10, 2,249 people donated their eyes after their death but there is still a major shortage of corneas in the UK. Many more people would benefit from a sight-saving transplant if more eyes were donated. (Source-Organ Donation)
What can you do?
1.) Let your patients know that their eyes can be donated. Place information on your website along with your eyeglass donation information.
2.) Google your local Eye Bank and provide the information and forms on your website or blog. For example this is New York;
- Sight Society of Northeastern New York (Lions Eye Bank at Albany) www.lionseyebankalbany.com
- LifeNet Health www.lifenet.org
- Lions Eye Bank for Long Island www.lebli.org
- The Eye-Bank For Sight Restoration www.eyedonation.org
3.) Collaborate with your local Eye-Bank to have a fundraiser. Even events just as trunk shows can be fun with a percentage going to your local eyebank.
4.) Personally make the commitment to donate your own eyes and do a post on your Facebook page to let others know why and how to donate.