Eye tissue donation restores sight to thousands of Missourians
March is National Eye Donor Month
March is National Eye Donor Month, and Missourians are being urged to give the gift of sight to others. Eye tissue donated to an eye bank after a person’s death can be transplanted to help restore vision to those who have lost their sight.
Last year in Missouri, the Heartland Lions Eye Banks helped restore sight to 1,876 people.
“Tremendous advances have been made in tissue and organ transplantation, offering the hope of life and significantly improving the quality of life for many people,” said Jane Drummond, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “I encourage Missouri residents to take time this month to learn more about cornea transplants and tissue donation.”
Eye donor banks have been helping to restore eyesight through transplants since 1960, and the need for eye tissue has increased every year. More than 700,000 people have regained their eyesight since eye donor banks began providing eye tissue for cornea transplants.
Missouri residents can arrange to become eye tissue donors by signing up for the state’s Organ Donor Registry and telling their families they want to be an organ donor. The Organ Donor Registry can be found at: www.missouriorgandonor.com.
“Becoming an organ donor allows you to make such a positive impact on the lives of others,” Drummond said.
President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Eye Donor Month in 1983. Since that time, Congress has designated every March as National Eye Donor Month to increase the awareness of the need for eye tissue donation.
To learn more about organ and tissue donation and the Missouri Organ Donor Registry, go to www.dhss.mo.gov/organdonor. For specific information about cornea donation, contact the Heartland Lions Eye Banks at 1-800-283-1982, ext. 107 or [email protected].