The decision to donate eye tissue is an act of great generosity.
Eye tissue donation can restore sight, prevent blindness, and dramatically change the quality of an individual’s life. Donor tissue is also crucial to advancing research and developing surgical techniques.
Established in 1986, the Lions Eye Bank is responsible for collecting, processing and distributing corneal and sclera tissue throughout Western Australia. To date, it has provided high quality tissue for more than 5,000 procedures.
An independent organisation, the Lions Eye Bank is self-funded through cost recovery.
The Lions Eye Bank was the first eye bank in Australia to implement the national Electronic Donor Register, which was originally used only for organ donation, and enables a completely paperless donor environment.
In 2018, a Specialist Certificate in Eye Banking – the world’s first formal university qualification for eye banking as a vocation – was established through the University of Melbourne’s School of Medicine. All our Lions Eye Bank staff successfully completed this postgraduate course.
As a member of The Eye Bank Association of Australia & New Zealand (EBAANZ), the Lions Eye Bank works collaboratively with other eye banks to maintain consistently high levels of quality, safety, proficiency and ethics. Excess tissue is shared when appropriate and emergency requests for tissue are always supported.
With the increasing number of Western Australians awaiting a corneal transplant, there is a consistent and growing demand for corneas. New surgical techniques (utilising the back, front and middle of the cornea) enable patients to be grafted sooner and ensures no corneal tissue is wasted.
If you’re considering eye tissue donation, there are a number of Western Australian and national organisations you can contact.
- DonateLife WA coordinates all organ and tissue donor activities across Western Australia. For more information on tissue and organ donation, visit its website DonateLife WA
- The Eye Bank Association of Australia & New Zealand (EBAANZ) is the peak body for eye donation and transplants in Australia and New Zealand. If you’d like further information about eye banks, corneal donations, and outcomes data, visit ebaanz.org
- Families are encouraged to discuss their wishes regarding organ or tissue donation and record their consent with the Australian Organ Donor Registration (ADDR). You can register as an eye tissue donor by phoning 1800 777 203.
- Information and registration forms are also available from Medicare offices or online at medicareaustralia.gov.au