Corneal Transplant Information

The Donated Cornea

Consenting to donation is a selfless act of kindness. Eye tissue donors and their families make this generous decision so that others may be provided with the gift of sight.

Lions Eye Bank of Nebraska

The Lions Eye Bank of Nebraska is a nonprofit organization that is accredited by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) and is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  All tissues distributed by the Lions Eye Bank of Nebraska meet or exceed FDA and EBAA standards.  

The staff at the Lions Eye Bank of Nebraska work under the direction of two Medical Directors, who are board certified corneal surgeons. Before a cornea is released for transplantation, many steps must be taken to ensure the safety of the tissue.  Not only must the cornea itself be physically suitable for transplant, the donor‘s medical and social history must meet strict requirements as well.  

Donor’s Medical and Social History

One of the first steps to ensure your new cornea is safe for transplantation is for the eye bank to complete a thorough review of the donor’s current medical record, medical history and social history.  This detailed assessment is done with the donor’s medical records and primary care physicians.  Additionally, in an interview with the donor’s next of kin, the eye bank staff obtains further medical and social history.  Every donor is screened to ensure corneas are not used from individuals with potentially harmful diseases. 

Physical Suitability of the Cornea

Eye Bank personnel, who have been specifically trained by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), evaluate the physical condition of the donated cornea.  Two powerful microscopes are used:  one to look at the general condition of the cornea, and one that counts the endothelial cells.  The cornea must meet strict standards in order to be offered to a surgeon for transplant.

Infectious Disease Testing

Before a cornea can even leave the eye bank, the results from infectious disease testing must be obtained.  Infectious disease testing for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis must all be negative for a cornea to be transplanted.

Ultimately, your surgeon will decide whether a particular donor cornea is right for you, and you can rest assured that the most thorough safety measures have been put in place to protect you in your transplant process.