The Gift-The Cornea
The cornea is the clear, curved tissue in front of the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the pupil. When the cornea is removed from the eye, it looks like a contact lens. The cornea serves to focus light coming into the eye; it does 70% of the focusing of light and the lens (behind the iris) does the remaining 30%.
Should the cornea become cloudy from disease, injury, infection, or any other cause, vision will be dramatically reduced or lost.
During a corneal transplant, the defective cornea is replaced by an identical size piece of healthy donor tissue. This microsurgery can restore vision for more than 90% of the people suffering from corneal blindness.
Other Corneal Uses
Donated eyes are vital to the work of various research programs. Studying causes and effects of such diseases as diabetes, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other retinal diseases leads to new treatments and cures.
Donated eyes are used by doctors-in-training to learn eye anatomy and proper surgical procedures.
The Gentle Link
An eye bank obtains eyes/corneas, medically evaluates and distributes corneal tissue which is donated for use in corneal transplants, research, and education.
Eye banks are non-profit organizations and serve as the gentle link between the donor and the recipient.