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 was founded in 1991 as a collaboration between CERA, the Eye and Ear, University of Melbourne and the Victorian Lions Foundations Inc (and its predecessors) to manage corneal donation in Victoria.
It has since undertaken more than 7000 corneal donations and provided eye tissue for over 15 000 transplants. It has also evolved into a joint venture between the Eye and Ear Hospital and CERA, and continues to receive philanthropic support from the Lions Club of Victoria.
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.