This March 2013 marks a very important year in the effort to raise awareness about the importance of eye donation. In 1983, 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Eye Donor Month as an opportunity to focus on eye donation, recognize donors and celebrate corneal recipients (Source: Eye Bank Association of America).
Each March, a member of Congress has read a proclamation into the Congressional Record to note this special occasion. This year, Representative Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) has been asked to enter a proclamation into the Congressional Record stating March 2013 is National Eye Donor Month.
Have you ever considered becoming an eye donor? Should you decide that upon your death you would like to give another the gift of sight, here are some things you should know:
- If you become an eye donor, the cornea is the part of the eye that is used for transplant. A corneal transplant is “…a surgical procedure, which involves replacing a disc-shaped segment of an impaired cornea with a similarly shaped piece of healthy donor cornea” (Source: MedicineNet).
- Only the cornea can be transplanted; however, the entire eye may be used for research and education purposes.
- Corneal transplants are one of the most frequently performed human transplant procedures. Since 1961, more than 549,889 corneal transplants have been performed, restoring sight to men, women and children ranging in age from nine days to 103 years.
- Anyone can become an eye donor. Cataracts, poor eyesight or age do not prevent you from being a donor.
- It is important for individuals wanting to be donors to inform family members of their wishes.
The gift of sight is extremely precious; will you decide to give that gift?