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N O V E M B E R 

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  • Raising awareness of eye/cornea donation

  • Honoring donors and their families

  • Celebrating corneal recipients

Learn more about cornea donation and transplantation, visit:

"Eye Donation" doesn't mean the entire eye is transplanted; instead, only the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye) is replaced, restoring sight for those with cornea-related blindness.  

The entire eye can be used for research and education, potentially helping untold thousands of people regain their sight as researchers gain new understanding of the cause and effects of eye conditions that lead to blindness.

  • The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye.

  • The entire eye cannot be transplanted, however it can be used for research and education.

  • The first human corneal transplant was performed in 1905 by Dr. Eduard Zirm.

  • The first U.S. transplant was performed in NY City by Dr. R. Townley Paton in 1937.

  • An eye bank is a nonprofit organization that recovers, evaluates and distributes eyes donated by caring individuals for use in corneal transplantation, research and education.

  • The first eye bank opened in NY City in 1944.

  • The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) is the oldest transplant association and was formed in 1961 by a group of ophthalmologists and eye bankers.

  • Each EBAA member eye bank has a Medical Director who oversees and provides advice on all medical aspects of the eye bank.

  • Certified Eye Bank Technicians are re-certified every 3 years.

  • Cornea donation is not dependent on eye color, blood type or even eye sight quality.

First corneal transplant performed in 1905

Corneal transplants are over 95% successful

The story of Connor Walsh - a cornea donor

History of Corneal Transplantation

   In 1905, when Eduard Konrad Zirm, MD, performed the first successful corneal transplant, a long line of corneal transplantation, research and techniques began.  During its existence, Zirm's eye bank, located in a rural area of Austria, treated over 47,000 patients.
    In 1914, Anton Elsching, MD, from Austria, performed the second successful corneal transplant.  He contributed much to the study of peri-operative infection and pre-operative preparation. 

    In the 1920s adn 1930s, Russian ophthalmologist Vladimir Filatov worked in refining lamellar keratoplasty and developing a new method for full thickness keratoplasty.  

   From 1920 to 1940 Spanish ophthalomogist Ramon Castroviejo was an influential figure in developments of corneal transplantation - culminating in the development of a new keratoplasty technique.

Understanding Corneal Blindness

The cornea copes very well with minor injuries.  If the highly sensitive cornea is scratched, healthy cells slide over quickly and patch the injury before infection occurs and vision is affected.  If the scratch penetrates the cornea more deeply, however, the healing process will take longer, at times resulting in greater pain, blurred vision, tearing, redness, and extreme sensitivity to light.  These symptoms require professional treatment.  Deeper scratches can also cause corneal scarring, resulting in a haze on the cornea that can greatly impair vision.  In this case, a corneal transplant may be needed.

Corneal Diseases & Disorders            that  may require a transplant

Corneal Infections
Fuchs' Dystrophy


Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Lattice Dystrophy
Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome

Information from Eye Bank Association of America   |

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