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August 28, 1981

Eye Banks and Eye Donations

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and the Corneal Laboratories, New York Eye Bank for Sight Restoration Inc.

JAMA. 1981;246(9):1009-1010. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320090063036

EYE BANKS, through innovations in tissue storage, have helped corneal transplant surgery become the most successful type of organ transplant program. Despite the major role played by eye banks in guaranteeing the success of corneal transplant surgery, little is known about the history of eye banks, their function, and their dependence on public support. Even within the ophthalmologic community, only those persons who are directly involved with transplant surgery have a realistic impression of an eye bank.

What Is an Eye Bank?  The term "eye bank" conjures up the image of a vault where corneas are stored before being used. While this perhaps may have been true in 1944, when the first eye bank was established on Staten Island, NY, today's eye bank has increased in complexity manyfold. In most municipalities, an eye bank consists of a medical director, an executive director, technicians, enucleators, and a host of volunteers. It