For someone with a damaged cornea, a corneal transplant is often their last hope of restoring vision. Donate your eyes when you no longer need them, so that others may see.
The New Zealand National Eye Bank is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the prevention of blindness through the provision of donated corneal and other tissues.
Since 1991 the Eye Bank has supplied over 7800 corneas to New Zealanders, from a facility based in The University of Auckland's Grafton campus.
Currently around 350 people require a corneal transplant each year - from the young to the elderly - due to disorders where the cornea becomes cloudy, scarred, infected, or distorted in shape.
Unlike with modern artificial lenses, there is no artificial cornea, so a viable cornea from a recently deceased person is the only option. Without a transplant, many of these people would become blind or severely vision impaired.
Tissues collected, stored, and distributed throughout New Zealand include:
- Donated eyes that provide corneas for sight restoration, where the cloudy or diseased recipient cornea is replaced by a clear, healthy donor cornea.
- Sclera (the tough white part of the eye) that can be used for reconstructive surgery following trauma or tumour removal.
- Amniotic membrane derived from the newborn placenta, that can be used as a ‘living bandage’ for ocular surface disorders following infection, injury, or disease processes.
Collected and distributed by the NZ Eye Bank
When considering organ donation, we tend to think only of the heart, lungs and kidneys. The cornea - the tiny, clear window that covers the eye - probably doesn't spring to mind. Did you know that you can donate your eye tissues to help someone, like Diana in this story, regain their sight?
The New Zealand Eye Bank is closely affiliated with several different organisations:
New Zealand National Eye Bank Trust
If you would like to make a financial contribution toward the NZ National Eye Bank's activities please email the Eye Bank Business Manager.
Department of Ophthalmology
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019