Did you know that November is Eye Donation Month? The month was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Eye Donation Month has since been used as an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of signing up to be an eye, organ and tissue donor, and about cornea donation and transplantation.
This Year’s Theme:
This year’s campaign is centered on the theme, The Power of You, which acknowledges the entire community of people who are involved in the journey of sight restoration. The campaign demonstrates the “power” that individuals have in building hope, restoring sight and changing lives. This includes healthcare professionals and partners, researchers, eye bank staff, corneal surgeons, and recipients and donor families.
Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank (RMLEB) is a partner to Donor Alliance and recovers eye tissue from donors in Colorado and most of Wyoming. The mission of the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is to fulfill the wishes of eye donors and their families in order to help another overcome blindness through transplantation and research. Because so many said Yes to eye donation, in the last year in our service area:
- 2,727 eye donors gave the gift of sight.
- 2,514 eye tissues were used in sight-restorative transplants and reconstruction.
- 328 eye tissues were used by RMLEB or other research centers to advance surgery techniques and innovations to fight blindness.
- The first corneal transplant occurred way back in 1905.
- Corneal transplants are one of the most frequently performed human transplant procedures. The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer; a clear dome-shaped tissue that covers the front of the eye. Diseases and injuries of the cornea cause clouding and scarring which blocks light from entering the eye and diminishes vision.
- Anyone can become an eye donor. Cataracts, poor eyesight or age do not prevent someone from being an eye donor.
- Everyone is a universal eye donor. Blood type and eye color do not matter.
- It is important for individuals wanting to be donors to sign up! Also, inform your family members of your decision.
- Getting involved this month is easy! Just visit the Eye Bank Association of America’s toolkit. There you can download FREE fact sheets and infographics.
- Also, share your eye donation story with us on social media, using #EyeDonationMonth, and encourage others to do the same.
- Lastly, you can help any time by signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor online at DonateLifeWyoming.org or DonateLifeColorado.org!