Historic milestone for corneal transplants in Victoria
The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital has marked World Sight Day on 14 October by celebrating the 10,000th cornea transplant in Victoria.
Thousands of Victorians have had their sight restored thanks to the Eye Donation Service at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and the generosity of donors. Corneal transplant surgery relies upon individuals and families to donate eye tissue to restore the sight of others.
The cornea transplant milestone is testament to the committed staff and doctors who have made a remarkable difference in the lives of people facing blindness.
In Australia, around 1700 corneal transplants occur annually. In Victoria in 2009, there were 168 donors resulting in 305 transplants. Typically, donors are aged in their 70s, and provide corneas for transplantation and sclera, or white of the eye, for reconstruction procedures. Over half transplant recipients are under 50.
The CERA’s Eye Donations Service collects, evaluates and distributes eyes donated for corneal transplantation. The service was launched in July 1991 and provided its first cornea for transplant in June that year.
Each year the service supplies around 320 corneas, 100 sclera and 30 amniotic membranes for transplantation in Victoria, across Australia and even in New Zealand.
Supported by the Lions Clubs International, CERA’s Eye Donation Service is located at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, the biggest single transplant Hospital in Australasia.
Corneal transplants are one of the most successful and commonly performed transplants. It is also one of the older types of transplants, with the first corneal transplant performed in 1905.
The cornea, the clear surface at the front of the eye, is vital to focusing. If cloudy from infection, illness or disease, vision is impaired and a transplant is needed to restore sight.