Commemorating Eye Donation Month
Mar. 10, 2017
While none of Concordeâs 20-plus programs focuses specifically on the eyes, there are several health care fields where caring for patientsâ eye issues could be commonplace. Concorde students in Nursing, Medical Assisting and Surgical Technology all most likely will one day face caring for the eyes of patients. Itâs a health care awareness issue that must have attention paid. With that in mind, March 1 commemorated the beginning of the 34th Annual National Eye Donor Month. U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velazquez, a Democrat from New Yorkâs 7th District, entered a proclamation into the Congressional Record designating it such, according to a news release from the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA).
Health care awareness paid to the eyesDuring National Eye Donor Month, EBAA and its member banks promote eye donation health care awareness, encourage individuals to register as eye, organ and tissue donors, honor donors and their families and celebrate cornea recipients. They sponsor events and activities to further acquire state and/or city proclamations, utilize social media and much more to further the publicâs health care awareness of the need for eye donation. EBAA-member eye banks made possible more than 74,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants last year.
A brief history of eye donationThe first corneal transplant â and, thatâs what is referred to anytime eye transplant is mentioned â occurred way back in 1905. It wasnât until 1944 that R. Townley Paton, a renowned American ophthalmologist, established the worldâs first eye bank. It wasnât until 1982 that President Ronald Reagan designated the first week of March, annually, as âSave Your Vision Week.â President Reagan went that one better the next year by proclaiming the first âNational Eye Donor Month.â
Steps to becoming an eye donorHere are some things you should know should you decide upon your death you would like to give another the gift of sight.
- The cornea is the part of the eye that is used for transplant.
- The entire eye might be used for research and education purposes, however.
- Corneal transplants are one of the most frequently performed human transplant procedures. More than 549,889 corneal transplants have been performed since 1961, restoring sight to men, women and children ranging in age from nine days to 103 years.
- Anyone can become an eye donor. 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.