April 5, 2023
Iowa Lions Eye Bank- Changing the Lives of Many
Iowa Lions Eye Bank has been serving patients in the Midwest for 67 years and is the only eye bank to serve Iowans. In 1955, Dr. Alson E. Braley, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, approached the Iowa Lions to establish the organization and meet the needs of hundreds. Iowa Lions Eye Bank is a non-profit service organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of sight through the recovery, processing, and distribution of human ocular tissue for transplantation and research, primarily in Iowa, but also throughout the world.
In 2022, Iowa had 927 eye donors and there were 687 donor corneas provided for sight restoring surgeries. Wolfe Eye Clinic is proud to partner with such a strong non-profit organization and provide better opportunities to our patients for better vision.
Four of the Most Asked Questions: Answered by Iowa Lions Eye Bank
1. Who can be an eye donor?
Anyone! Corneal tissue does not need match a blood type, does not matter how old you are, or even what color your eyes are. If you are healthy and your eyes are healthy, you can be an eye donor.
2. How do I sign up to be an eye donor?
When applying for your Iowa driver’s license, you will be asked if you would like to register as a donor. Just check “yes” and that provides legal consent for you to donate your eyes, organs and tissue after your death. You may also consider registering at Iowa Donor Registry.
3. Is there an age limit for becoming an eye donor?
Donation is possible for anyone over the age of two years old. For transplant purposes, you must be between the ages of two and eighty years old.
4. Can someone with poor eyesight be an eye donor?
Of course! The cornea is the only portion of the eye that is used for transplants and if it is healthy enough for the recipient, then it can be a prefect match.
What is the cornea?
According to the Cornea Research Foundation of America, the cornea is clear tissue covering the front portion of your eye. This portion of the eye protects the iris and pupil but also allows light to enter the eye and transfer images to our brain. There are six separate layers of the cornea and the epithelium is the outermost layer that accounts for about 10% of the corneal thickness. Epithelium is supplied by many nerve endings which makes the cornea the most sensitive area on the body. Therefore, there is significant discomfort when the epithelial layer is disturbed by trauma or disease.
Continuing the Leadership
Iowa Lions Eye Bank remains a leader in the eye banking industry through innovative research into the causes of corneal diseases. They perform modern surgical techniques to process tissue for surgeon needs and provide education regarding the donation process to potential donors and recipients of corneal tissue. Wolfe Eye Clinic is grateful to continue our partnership with the Iowa Lions Eye Bank in the mutual dedication to restore and preserve vision through corneal transplants.