Become a Donor

April 19, 2022

National Donate Life Month: Bee a Donor!

Did you know that more than 583 Iowans are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant? April is recognized each year as National Donate Life Month to help raise awareness and encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Donate Life America’s campaign for 2022 was inspired by the vital role that bees play in sustaining life. Bees are a small but powerful life force that work together through dedication, collaboration and a strong sense of community. By registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor you are part of an interconnected life-sustaining community that can save up to eight lives and heal the lives of 75 individuals. Wolfe Eye Clinic is proud to partner with Iowa Lions Eye Bank and Iowa Donor Network to provide cornea donations to Iowans through cornea transplant and help restore the gift of sight.

When is a Cornea Donation Needed?

The cornea is a clear dome made up of five separate layers that protects the front portion of the eye and allows light to pass through to the retina. Individual cells shaped like a bee’s honeycomb, form tightly together to create a healthy cornea. When corneal tissue begins to deteriorate or is damaged by an injury, infection or disease, vision potential starts to decline, and the cells cannot be restored on their own. A corneal transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces part of a person’s cornea with corneal tissue from an organ donor. If surgery is needed, a cornea surgeon removes a portion of the cornea and replaces it with donor corneal tissue. Cornea donation is important in that one cornea donor can assist in the preservation and restoration of sight for two people.

Dr. Christina Gillmore, MD

"It is truly humbling to see the impact that a cornea transplant can have for patients' vision,” commented Christina Gillmor,  MD, fellowship-trained cornea and cataract surgeon at Wolfe Eye Clinic. “For many patients, the clarity of vision they experience allows them a new outlook on life; they can do activities they were previously unable to do. As surgeons, we can't do it alone. We rely on the citizens of Iowa to provide the life-changing gift of organ donation."

Become an organ donor here!

Who Can Donate Corneal Tissue?

Did you know that the term “eye donation” does not mean a full eye transplant? Most often only corneal tissue is recovered for transplants and gone through extensive review to be a correct match to the recipient. Everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue! Factors like blood type, age, or eye color do not have to match with the recipient, but it is crucial for a cornea surgeon to review the medical history of a donor and their past eye history. This will provide a healthier recovery and outcome for the patient.

According to Donate Life America more than 1.8 million men, women and children worldwide have had their sight restored through cornea transplants since 1961, and more than 95% of all corneal transplant operations are successful in restoring sight to recipient’s vision. Organ donation provides forever gifts to honor the living donors, donor families, supporters and for those who are currently waiting. At Wolfe Eye Clinic we are honored to provide this gift to patients and be a part of their recovery.

Learn more by watching Dr. Christina Gillmor's recent interview with WHO Channel 13's Hello Iowa here! 

Are You Ready to be an Organ Donor?

As of 2021, Organ Donation Statistics show that 169 million people in America are registered organ donors. However, only 3 in 1,000 people who are donors are actually able to donate once they are deceased. Choosing to be an organ donor allows all your organs to be considered for recipients on a waiting list for a certain type of transplant needed. According to the National Library of Medicine, people who suffer from AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, Leukemia, Tetanus or a communicable disease such as meningitis, cholera or rabies my not be able to be an organ donor.

Join Wolfe Eye Clinic in honoring National Donate Life Month and take this moment to strongly consider registering to be an organ donor. Remember, everyone can be a donor and save the life of someone who is suffering from the need of an organ transplant.

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