The Lions Eye Donation Service
About the eye bank
The Lions Eye Donation Service establishes consent for eye donation, coordinates and performs donation surgery, and then evaluates and distributes donated corneas and other eye tissue.
The Lions Eye Donation Service is a collaboration between CERA, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, the Lions Clubs of Victoria and Southern New South Wales, and the University of Melbourne.
Since 1991, the Lions Eye Donation Service has performed more than 7000 corneal donations. It has also provided eye tissue for over 15 000 transplants.
The service mainly allocates donated eye tissue for transplant to patients in Victoria and Tasmania. But it also sends eye tissue to other parts of Australia and New Zealand when needed. If the donor wishes, their eyes or eye tissue can also be used to help medial research and education.
The service currently provides corneas for over 530 transplants per year in Australia and New Zealand. This has increased around 45 per cent in the past 20 years.
Among its achievements, the Lions Eye Donation Service was the first Australian eye bank to introduce organ culture preservation in 2005. This extended the time of corneal preservation from seven days to a possible 30 days.
The Lions Eye Donation Service is a member of the Eye Bank Association of Australia and New Zealand. This is the peak body for eye donation and transplants in Australia and New Zealand.
The service is based in Melbourne at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
Dr Graeme Pollock OAM
Dr Graeme Pollock OAM helped establish the Lions Eye Donation Service in 1991. Since then, he has led it from a small team to an organisation employing multiple staff. The organisation now consists of himself as the director, a quality manager, project manager, three full time donor coordinators, one casual donor coordinator and two medical directors.
With colleagues at CERA and the University of Melbourne, Dr Pollock developed the world’s first postgraduate course in eye banking. He also established the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations. This is a not-for-profit organisation providing support, education, advocacy and research for eye bankers around the world.