Over 40,000 Americans, including [number of corneal transplants] in [state], have their sight restored each year as a result of corneal transplants. [Eye Bank], and its 83 sister eye banks across the country, provide the tissue that makes these life-enhancing procedures possible.
Unlike other organs and tissue, U.S. eye banks secure a sufficient number of corneas to avoid shortages or wait lists. In fact, in 2010, eye banks in the U.S. provided over 16,000 corneas for patients overseas, and another 17,000 corneas for research that may lead to preventative and restorative treatments for vision loss and eye damage.
Without the generosity of over 50,000 eye donors each year, the above statistics would not be possible. Their decision to donate their corneas upon death, and to join their state donor registry, is the central aspect of the Eye Bank Association of America’s (EBAA) annual National Eye Donor Month commemoration.
First proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, National Eye Donor Month promotes eye donation awareness and celebrates the lives of eye donors and corneal recipients. This year, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) entered proclamations into the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively on [date of proclamation], declaring March 2012 as National Eye Donor Month.
The EBAA is the nationally-recognized accrediting body for eye banks. Since 1960, EBAA member eye banks nationwide have made possible more than 1,000,000 sight-restoring corneal transplantations.
Individuals interested in eye, tissue, or organ donation should access their state registry though the EBAA’s website and should designate themselves as organ donors through their department of motor vehicles.
If you would like to register as an eye donor, first speak with your loved ones and inform them of your donation wishes; then, register as a donor in your state. To view Donate Life America’s state donor registry map, please click here. Please contact Patricia Hardy, EBAA Manager of Communications, at 202-775-4999, x118, or firstname.lastname@example.org, for further information.
The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), established in 1961, is the oldest transplant association in the nation. The EBAA champions the restoration of sight through core services to its members which advance donation, transplantation and research in their communities and throughout the world. It has led the transplantation field with the establishment of medical standards for the distribution of eyes and comprehensive training and certification programs for eye banking personnel. These standards have been used as models for other transplantation organizations. Member eye banks operate in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. These eye banks make possible more than 52,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants annually.