The cornea, located in the front most part of the eye, makes it possible for one person to see the world clearly at optimal transparency and curvature. Therefore, when disease occurs to the cornea, the vision becomes blurry and can even be lost. The change in the transparency or curvature of the cornea because of an accident or disease will all affect the visual acuity. Those with severe conditions as determined by the physician require a cornea transplantation procedure for a possibility of improvement.
The cornea may not be donated while the donor is alive. With exception for the exclusion criteria, there is basically no age limit when it comes to cornea donation. Most cancer patients can still donate their cornea, and carriers of Hepatitis B can donate their cornea to help HBsAg or HBsAb people on the waiting list. Prior to donation, assessment by the ophthalmologist is required. After that, removal of the eyeball or the cornea will take place.
For donating the cornea, it is required to remove the cornea and part of the iris; the size is about that of a contact lens. For donating the eyeball, it is required to remove the eyeball and separate the cornea. The iris (commonly known as the “eye white”), on the other hand, may help patients in need. After the removal of either the cornea or the eyeball, replacement tissue will be used for the benefit of the donor's appearance and integrity.
The benevolence of donating the cornea will improve the visual acuity and also quality of life of the recipient following the transplant of cornea. The good will of the donor and the great love demonstrated by the donor’s family give the blind an opportunity to rid the world of darkness and even enable them to live on their own. For both the donor and the recipient, life is more beautiful because of the unselfishness. Sometimes, donated corneas cannot be transplanted immediately to provide the recipient with optical assistance due to certain factors; for example due to the issue of dystrophy of endothelial cells with the donor’s cornea following removal. Such corneas may be provided to donors requiring therapeutic transplantation or anterior corneal transplantation. If cornea infection is a concern or a cornea is not fit for transplantation due to other reasons, following consent from the donor while alive, the cornea may be provided to the National Eye Bank of Taiwan for training purposes, so as to be helpful to the field of cornea transplantation in an alternative way.
The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye. When it is dysfunctional because of an accident or disease, the visual acuity will be affected and blindness can even occur. Those with severe conditions as determined by the physician require a cornea transplantation procedure. A “Cornea transplant” is a surgical procedure that removes the diseased cornea and to replaces it with a clear and normally functioning cornea. As the medicine advances, cornea transplant is no longer just full thickness corneal grafting. A professional ophthalmologist will determine the recipient’s needs and then perform the full-thickness or partial-thickness corneal grafting.
The change of the cornea to a cone shape occurs because of progressive thinning of the cornea and the cornea gradually protrudes externally by means of the intra-ocular pressure. Such abnormal curvature changes the refractive power of the cornea and medium to severe loss of visual acuity (astigmatism) and blurriness (myopia). Keratoconus can also lead to edema and scarring that impairs the vision.
The density of endothelial cells decreases each year after birth. Dystrophy of endothelial cells will result in loss of more and more endothelial cells, decreased water excreting function of the cells and swollen cornea and twisted vision. Eventually, the epithelium will also swell and rupture to result in pain and severe damage to the vision.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. When the cornea is injured or diseased, the world you see is no longer colorful. It makes life and mobility uneasy. If you are willing to pass down the unselfish love to those in need or share related information with others, you can:
Get the Consent for Organ Donation at respective hospitals, public health centers, household registration offices, DMVs or service windows of the National Health Insurance Administration throughout the nation, complete it, and then put the completed consent in the business reply letter in the mail box directly. The information you provided will be reviewed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare Hospice Care and Organ Donation Intention Data Processing Group and your organ donation intention will be noted on your NHI IC card.
Log into the Ministry of Health and Welfare - Hospice Care and Organ Donation Intention Information System or the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center and provide the information on line. Print out and complete the Consent for Organ Donation and sign it before sending it to the Ministry of Health and Welfare Hospice Care and Organ Donation Intention Data Processing Group. The data processing group will note your organ donation intention on your NHI IC card.Go to the information system of the Ministry of Health and Welfare Go to the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center
The National Eye Bank of Taiwan has promotional materials and posters available on the donation of cornea available. Any unit or individual that needs them can request in writing.