Cornea Transplants Restored Sight To 600 Missourians

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Eyesight was restored last year to 640 Missourians who received cornea transplants made possible through eye tissue donation.

“Cornea transplants significantly improve the quality of life for hundreds of Missourians every year,” said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “Becoming an eye tissue donor allows you to give the gift of sight to someone afflicted with an eye disease or injury.”

State health officials are encouraging Missourians to become eye tissue donors in recognition of March as National Eye Donor Month.


The Missouri Organ Donor Program works with the Heartland Lions Eye Bank to inform the public about the need for eye tissue donors. Missouri residents can make arrangements to become donors by signing up for the state’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry and informing their families of their decision.

Eye donor banks have been helping to restore eyesight through transplants since 1960. More than 700,000 people have regained their eyesight since eye donor banks began providing eye tissue for cornea transplants. The need for eye tissue increases every year.

“Major advancements have been made in tissue and organ transplantation over the past several decades so the need for eye tissue is greater now than ever before,” Donnelly said. “I urge Missouri residents to learn more about becoming an organ and tissue donor.”

President Reagan proclaimed the first National Eye Donor Month in 1983. Since that time, Congress has designated every March as National Eye Donor Month to increase awareness of the need for eye tissue donation.