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About corneal transplants

WHO WILL CORNEAS HELP?

Corneal transplants are for people who suffer from corneal blindness. This happens when the cornea becomes cloudy and light cannot penetrate the eye to reach the light-sensitive retina.

Every year, around 400 people undergo corneal transplants, said Professor Donald Tan, the director of the Singapore National Eye Centre.

WHERE ARE THE CORNEAS FROM?

A quarter of the corneas come from local donors. Another half come from an eye bank in Sri Lanka, which was set up in 2011. The rest are from the US and the Philippines.

At any one point, there are about 30 people on the waiting list for corneal transplants, said Prof Tan.

HOW ARE CORNEAS STORED?

They have to be stored at 4 deg C in a special solution called Optisol-GS.

Ideally, they should be used after being stored for a week but corneas can be kept for up to two weeks.

HOW TO DONATE

An interested donor can inform his loved ones about his intention. The corneal donation arrangements can be done by the family after the potential donor has died.

Anyone can opt for corneal donation as long as he is free from infectious disease. This includes those who have gone through Lasik.

Locally, there is a 60 per cent consent rate when it comes to corneal donation.