March is National Eye Donor Month

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017



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March is National Eye Donor Month, a special time to honor those who donate their corneas after death to give others sight. More than 48,000 Americans have their sight restored each year as a result of corneal transplants and can once again see loved ones and the colors of the world.

First proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, National Eye Donor Month promotes eye donation awareness and celebrates the lives of eye donors and corneal recipients. 

“It’s difficult to imagine the loss of sight. Not being able to drive, read emails or see my family members would be devastating. People all over Kentucky need the gift of sight. Every registered donor gives hope to patients in need,” Boyle Circuit Court Clerk Cortney Shewmaker said.

Working closely with Lions Clubs all over Kentucky, providing the gift of sight has been a focus in Kentucky for decades. Recently, two Kentucky nonprofits who handle cornea donation have merged and are now known as the Kentucky Lions Eye Bank with offices in Lexington and Louisville. 

Judge Glenn Acree recounts his healing experience after receiving a cornea transplant, “For the first time, I could see clearly the details of my own young son’s face, the curl of his smile, the twinkle in his eye.” 

In the U.S. about 70,000 people are eye donors each year. Eye banks in the U.S. are able to help patients domestically and overseas, plus support research and training that may lead to preventative and restorative treatments for vision loss and eye damage.

You can join the Kentucky Donor Registry at a circuit clerk’s office or at Registering makes you a potential organ, tissue and cornea donor.