You’re giving the gift of sight!

Posted 29 Jun 2021

Did you know that the Eye Bank of South Australia is based at Flinders Medical Centre?

This small but dedicated team is on call 24/7 to retrieve each and every cornea from donors across the state.

They meticulously prepare valuable corneas and then provide them to surgeons for corneal transplants.

Thanks to your generosity, and support from the Lions Club of Glenside, this incredible service now has new technology to carry out its life-changing work, helping to restore the sight of more South Australians.

The purchase of two new biological safety cabinets and a highly-specialised microscope means the Eye Bank team can now prepare tissue for DMEK – a new method of corneal transplantation which strips the cornea to a much thinner graft.

“This method is better for patients and has a far quicker recovery as they don’t require stitches to secure the graft,” explains Eye Bank Manager Tamme Golding-Holbrook.

“With this new technology we can also pre-prepare corneas in our lab and provide them to surgeons ready for transplant, so they don’t have to spend time preparing the donor cornea in theatre. This helps ensure we have good quality corneas well ahead of time so that a patient’s surgery can proceed, and it also frees up the surgeons to perform more grafts.”

Tamme said the Eye Bank - which relies on donations to fund its vital work – was incredibly grateful.

“We’ve had a wish list for quite a while for technology we need to help restore the sight of more people. Now that we have some of this, we hope to be able to open our service to more donor retrievals and support surgeons to perform more transplants to restore sight – thank you!

Some facts about the Eye Bank of South Australia

  • In 2019, 138 people donated their corneas to the Eye Bank of South Australia, and 238 people received corneal transplants.
  • Corneas deemed suitable for transplantation can be grafted into any recipient, regardless of their age, race and blood type.
  • Overall success rates are better than 90 per cent after one year, and 74 per cent at five years.
  • The Eye Bank of South Australia is not-for-profit and relies solely on donations to purchase equipment and technology.

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