NHS trust issues urgent plea for donors

NHS trust issues urgent plea for donors

NHS trust issues urgent plea for donors

In partnership with the NHS Blood and Transplant service, North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust have issued an urgent plea for donors.

The organisations are taking National Eye Health Week, held 21 to 27 September, as an opportunity to encourage the public to give the gift of sight and sign up to be cornea donors.

At present, 1 in 10 of those on the NHS Organ Donor Register have indicated that they do not wish to donate their corneas.

This makes it the part of the body that people are most reluctant to donate.

Cornea donors are now 54% below the level needed to supply patients across the country.

As of 15 September, there were just 161 corneas in NHS Blood and Transplant’s eye banks.

As such, many patients are experiencing lengthy waits to have their sight restored.

Helen Gillan, General Manager for Tissue and Eye Services at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“During National Eye Health week, too many people will be unable to see their loved ones due to a national shortage of cornea donors.

“We urgently need more cornea donations to meet the demand for sight saving transplants, as numbers have not returned to usual post-lockdown.

“We understand that people often view the eyes with more emotion and see them as more symbolic than other parts of the body. The eye is never transplanted whole (2) – only the cornea is transplanted. The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye that helps the eye to focus light.

“Unlike with organ donation, corneas don’t have to be donated immediately. Corneas can be donated up to 24 hours after death and donation can take place in hospital, hospices, or funeral homes.

“You can help those in need by saying yes to cornea donation, telling your friends and family your wishes, and giving the gift of sight to another. Donating sight means there can be light after darkness.”