Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank  

(225) 766-8996
Fax:(225) 765-4366

7777 Hennessy Blvd, Suite 1005
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808

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About the Eye Bank

Corneal transplant surgeryWhat is an eye bank?
An eye bank is an agency staffed with trained medical professionals who recover, evaluate, process and distribute eye tissue for surgical, research and education purposes, using strict medical guidelines. Standards for eye banking in the United States are rigidly enforced by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What is a cornea?
The cornea is a clear surface on the front of the eye, much like the crystal on your watch. It is the main focusing element of the eye and light must pass through it in order to have sight. If it becomes cloudy or scarred from disease, injury, infection or other cause, vision is dramatically reduced or completely lost. In many cases, a corneal transplant is recommended by an ophthalmologist.

What is a corneal transplant?
It is a surgical procedure in which a disc-shaped segment of the injured cornea is replaced with a similar segment of a healthy, donor cornea. Over 90% of all corneal transplants successfully restore the recipient's vision. Although 67,590 corneas were provided for transplant last year in North America, the demand for tissue is never satisfied. There are as many as 5,000 individuals on waiting lists around the country every day.

What is the source of transplant tissue?
Transplant tissue comes from only one precious source - an eye donor. Thoughtful and caring people or their families may choose to donate eye tissue at the time of death. As of now, there is no synthetic material suitable for corneal tissue; therefore, it is only living corneal tissue from a recently deceased donor which can be used for transplant.

Who can be an eye donor?
Anyone can be an eye donor regardless of age or poor eyesight - everyone can lend a hand in the fight against blindness.

Eye bank equipment

How is the recipient chosen?
After testing and evaluation by the Eye Bank, corneal tissue is offered to the eye surgeon who has the next patient on the waiting list. Distribution is based on a "first come, first served" basis, except in an emergency situation. The decision to accept a cornea for a specific patient rests with the surgeon.

How safe is transplanted tissue?
Donated eye tissue and the donor's medical history are evaluated extensively by BRREB, in accordance with strict medical standards. Extensive blood testing and careful training of laboratory personnel ensure the safety of all surgical tissue.

Can the whole eye be transplanted?
No, only the cornea and segments of sclera can be transplanted. Scleral tissue comes from the outer white portion of the eye and is used for certain glaucoma procedures and reconstructive surgery. However, whole eyes are very important for research and education. Research on glaucoma, retinal disease, diabetes complications and other sight disorders help find new treatments and cures.

How soon must the cornea be recovered and when is it transplanted?
Corneas should be recovered as soon as possible after death, preferably within a few hours. Ideally, transplantation is performed within a few days.

Will eye donation affect the donor appearance or change funeral arrangements?
Not at all. Great care is taken to preserve the natural appearance of the donor. Funeral arrangements, with viewing if desired, may take place without delay.

Are there any religious objections to donation?
All major religious faiths support this program for sight restoration, viewing it as an opportunity to restore health and give the gift of sight.

Is there a fee charged for donation?
There is absolutely no charge to the family or estate of the donor for the donation process. All costs associated with eye recovery are charged to the eye bank.

Will the recipient and donor family be given each other's names?
The gift of sight is made and received anonymously. However, most eye banks encourage and convey anonymously written notes between recipients and donor families.

Will the quality of medical care be affected if one is a known donor?
Absolutely not. Strict laws and legal guidelines must be followed before death can be certified. The physician certifying the patient's death can in no way be involved with the eye recovery or with the transplant.

How can I leave the legacy of sight?
First and foremost, tell your family that you want to be a donor. They will be asked to give consent before a donation can take place and it helps them to make a decision if they know what your wishes are. You may wish to visit Donate Life Louisiana to join the Louisiana Donor Registry, which allows individuals to express their willingness to donate organs, eyes and tissue for transplantation.

For more information, contact us or call us at 225-766-8996.

Donate Life Louisiana
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