Are you registered as an organ and tissue donor? When most people think of becoming a donor, they think of donating major organs, such as the heart, liver and kidneys. Many people don’t realize the impact that the donation of tissues like corneas can have on the life of the recipient.
By registering to be a donor, you can give the gift of sight to one or two people who have lost their sight to corneal blindness.
The cornea is the clear, outermost layer of the eye. When it becomes scarred, clouded or damaged due to disease, blurred vision and even blindness may occur. A corneal transplant can restore a patient’s vision when the eye is too damaged or diseased to treat with vision surgery such as LASIK.
According to the Eye Bank Association of America, more than 123,000 cornea donations were reported in the U.S. in 2013. Many U.S. eye banks also provide donated eye tissue for transplant in countries where corneal blindness is more prevalent, HIV and other transmittable diseases run rampant or where culture and religious restrictions prevent tissue donation.
Next time you renew your driver’s license, be sure to update your donor status. Donating organs or tissue after your death is a generous gift that will save and improve lives.