Corneal Transplants in Utah
After watching my stepmother deteriorate in her need for a kidney donation for years, the battle lost on New Year’s Day, 2020, I have become very passionate about tissue and organ donation.
At Utah Valley Eye, we are bringing light to one of the most successful tissue donation surgical rates – corneal donation. Many who visit our practice in Provo for LASIK surgery ask about their continued eligibility to be a tissue donor after their surgery.
Utah is a global leader in tissue and organ donation
Utah has one of the highest rates of organ and tissue donation in the world, being ranked as 4th highest internationally in 2019. (https://www.heraldextra.com/sanpete-county/news/utah-ranks-th-internationally-for-organ-donors/article_3cd77c18-b7db-52a7-9d71-05b973864d22.html) Being a donor in Utah is simple; you can register online at Yes Utah (http://yesutah.org) or when renewing your Utah Driver License. It is important for those desiring to be donors to inform family and friends of their wishes as well as have a medical advanced directive in place. These steps can expedite the donation process, allowing the donation to commence quickly after death so that the maximum possible number of individuals be saved.
True organ donation is normally only an option for those who are declared brain dead, but tissue donations, such as skin, cornea, etc. can be completed with nearly any circumstance of death. Donating your cornea can give sight to those suffering from Corneal Blindness.
Who can donate?
Many people feel that if they are unable to donate blood because of certain health problems, that they are automatically disqualified from donating organs or tissues. This is not necessarily the case, even for those with diabetes or other chronic diseases.
Religious views on organ and tissue donation
Others fear that tissue or organ donation is contrary to their religious beliefs. Nearly every major religion has made a statement about its views on the topic.
What if the donated tissue is not usable?
In a rare instance, the tissue or organs are not able to be used. Donors can and should determine what they want to happen should their tissue and/or organ donation not be used for any reason. Options are to designate the donation for educational use or for ethical disposal.
How many people can be helped?
For every successful corneal donation and subsequent transplant, two people may be given the gift of sight since doctors only transplant one cornea per person. If a donor elects to donate the maximum eligible organs/tissues, they can save the life of 50 others.
If you have questions about your eligibility or the process of donating corneas, please ask us at Utah Valley Eye – leading provider of LASIK in Provo.