Eye Bank

Eye Bank Dept.

Eye banks retrieve and store eyes for cornea transplants and research. The first eye bank was founded in 1944. Currently, in the United States, eye banks provide tissue for about 46,000 cornea transplants each year[1] to treat conditions such as keratoconus[2] and corneal scarring. In some cases, the white of the eye (sclera) is used to surgically repair recipient eyes. Unlike other organs and tissues, there is an adequate supply of corneas for transplants in the United States, and excess tissue is exported internationally,[3] however, there is a shortage of corneal tissue internationally. Laboratory Processing A sample of the donor's blood is also collected to test for infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human cytomegalovirus, syphilis, and sometimes others. The blood type is also tested, although corneas do not receive any blood supply and match typing is not necessary for transplantation. If the entire eye is enucleated during the original recovery, then the cornea and part of the sclera are removed and placed in a container with preservation medium, and the sclera is cleaned and then preserved in alcohol. The corneas are visually examined and evaluated underneath a slit-lamp, and the number of endothelial cells are counted underneath a specular microscope. The corneas are rated, usually on a scale of 0-4, for donor suitability based on the specular and slit-lamp evaluations.