The Iowa Lions Eye Bank hosted its annual Celebration of Hope & Renewal at the Iowa Lions Donor Memorial & Healing Garden on the campus of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The event honors those that have donated organs and tissues, giving the gift of sight, and sometimes even life. Those that have received such donations are encouraged to speak, and offer thanks to those that made such a sacrifice, and encourage others to participate in the organ donor program.
Eye tissue is quite unlike other parts of the human body. Unlike other organ donations, such as the heart or kidney, the cornea is the only a part of the human eye that is able to be transplanted. That’s not to say that the rest of the ocular tissue goes to waste. It can be studied by researchers at the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, providing useful medical information that is likely to be helpful in the future.
The Iowa Lions Eye Bank was originally founded in 1955, and functions as a nonprofit organization. They dedicate themselves to the restoration and preservation of eyesight through the recovery, processing and distribution of human ocular tissue for transplantation, as well as research. Their works help people not only in their home state of Iowa, but throughout the entire world.
The director of lab operations for the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, Adam Stockman, reported that the organization received more than 1,200 donations of ocular tissue in 2015 for research and transplants.
Nearly 48,000 cornea transplants are carried out each year in the United States alone, and it’s the most common type of tissue transplant in the world. Even so, there are still tens of millions of people with vision impairment or blindness that can be cured by cornea transplants. To help alleviate the problem, Stockman stresses the need for more people to become organ donors.