November is Eye Donation Month. All month long, we shared about the importance of registering to be a donor, cornea donation and transplantation facts and myths, and what it means to be an eye bank. We also honor local eye donors that have given the gift of sight.

DID YOU KNOW? 👁

Everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue — the donor’s blood type does not have to match the blood type of the recipient. Age, eye color and eyesight are not factors either!

Get a Look Inside Our Eye Lab!

Konan Specular Microscope

How does our team use the Konan Specular Microscope? 🔬

Well, we measure the cell density of the endothelium (the layer furthest inside the eye) of the corneas we recover for transplant. A higher cell density usually indicates that the cornea is still functioning adequately.

Ocular Tissue Storage

This is where we store all of our ocular tissue. 👁

All tissue recovered by ConnectLife is kept in monitored, secure, and temperature controlled environments. The several different bins you see in this photo correspond with the different types of ocular tissue we recover.

It is our intent to transplant every piece of ocular tissue we recover, but sometimes during the medical evaluation process we may determine that the donor may have had a medical condition that would potentially be adverse to the recipient.

In situations like this, if we have consent to use the tissue for research, we work with several researchers across the world who are working on different treatment methods for various ocular conditions.

Slit Lamp

Have you ever had an ocular exam? 👁 If yes, then this slit lamp should look familiar.

With the slit lamp, in tandem with our specular microscope, we visually examine the cornea to make sure that the cornea is functioning properly and free of damage.

Our team microscopically inspects every millimeter of the cornea, making sure that the endothelium is intact, that there is no hazardous debris or infiltrates (which are infections within the cornea), and that the cornea is clear and transparent. 

Sclera

The sclera is the white part of your eye. 👁

Although we don't have as many sclera transplants as we do corneas, sclera is rather versatile. Its two most common uses are for glaucoma surgery and eye reconstruction.

Another use for sclera is in situations where there was severe trauma to the eye. Similar to a band aid, sclera can be placed over damaged ocular tissue if there has been damage to the eyeball itself resulting in a collapse.

A Special Thanks

Thank you to ConnectLife's Eye & Tissue team for helping give an inside look to the amazing work they do. Our eye lab is an essential part of our mission at ConnectLife.

Register your decision to be an eye donor at ConnectLife.org/Register