Banking and Corneal Transplantation
frontier for eye banking and corneal transplantation in the developing
world is to increase the availability of a safe tissue supply for corneal
transplantation for all levels of society. Corneal blindness in the
developing world has a tremendous impact both on the quality of people's
lives and related economic issues.
Corneal disease affects over 10 million people in the
developing world. The causes are related to trachoma, leprosy, trauma,
ulcerations and complications related to the use of traditional medicines.
World Health Organization research indicates that with an increase in
non-communicable disease causes of blindness, the impact that blindness
will have on society will increase dramatically over the next 20 years.
Corneal transplantation and eye banking play an important role in the
reduction of this form of blindness.
Corneal transplantation is often performed on younger
persons resulting in significantly greater economic benefits than those
associated with cataract surgery.
Eyesight International and its members have been involved
with eye banking and corneal transplantation since 1990. They have worked
with the Eye Bank Association of India since that organization's inception
in 1990. Eyesight International members have provided a pivotal role
in the development of medical standards and accreditation programs tailored
to India's culture and environment. As well, Eyesight International
members have presented annual educational programs since 1990 to educate
doctors, health care professionals and eye bank technicians in all aspects
of corneal transplantation and eye banking.
In 1990, approximately 700 successful transplants were
performed nationally in India. The frequency of severe complications
was approximately 50%. With Eyesight International's assistance, approximately
9,000 successful corneal transplants were performed in 2000, with a
dramatic decrease in the incidence of complications.
Many opportunities exist for the development of eye banking
and corneal transplantation programs in the developing world. The reduction
of blindness through corneal transplantation is one of Eyesight International's