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How is COVID-19 Impacting Eye Donation?

Eye donation provides the gift of sight to those in need of a transplant. Recently, there have been challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic that have affected eye donation.

About Eye Donation

While whole eye transplants are not currently feasible, surgeons have replaced parts of the eye with donor tissue for many years.

Corneal transplantation is the most common type of eye transplant because a healthy, clear cornea is needed for good vision. A cornea that is injured or damaged by disease can become swollen or scarred which can cause blurry vision. In corneal transplant, the damaged cornea is removed by a surgeon and replaced with a clear donor cornea. While this type of transplant is the most common related to the eye, it is not the only way people are able to regain the gift of sight through transplant.

Corneal donation is important because it can restore vision and reduce pain for those in need of a transplant. In fact, over 95% of all corneal transplants restore the recipients vision.

Most people are potential cornea donors because age, eye color and eyesight are not factors for donation. Additionally, a donor’s blood type does not have to match the recipients blood type. Which means that everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue!

The Latest in Eye Donation

  • Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, LifeSource eye donation services continue.  
  • Cornea transplants are being performed in the LifeSource service area and nationwide.
  • Our partners have remained committed to the eye donation process thru this unprecedented time.
  • LifeSource is entering our 4th year in offering eye donation services to families.
  • Cornea research related to the impact of COVID-19 is underway.
  • As of June 2020, LifeSource has cared for 230 eye donors. Because of generous donors this number continues to grow every day.