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Who We Are

Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research is a nonprofit organization that transforms lives by restoring sight for those with visual impairments and improves quality-of-life for tissue recipients. We are the largest combined eye bank, tissue recovery and ocular research center in the world.

It is our honor to serve as the bridge between tissue donation and transplantation. Our work includes cornea and tissue recovery, cornea preparation, research, surgeon training, and innovative technologies driven by the needs of patients and their surgeons. We continually use our expertise and community to expand transplantation services, while ensuring we honor our tissue donors and their families.

Since our founding in 1973, we have given the gift of sight to 167,000 men, women, and children around the world.

In 2018 we began recovering life-enhancing tissues needed by millions of patients each year for various surgical procedures related to trauma, sports-related injuries, coverage following third-degree burns, and other procedures that have helped over 32,000 people. This is possible through collaboration with our partners: tissue donors and their families, healthcare professionals, scientists, surgeons, and generous philanthropists.

Our Mission

To elevate standards in sight restoration, tissue transplantation, research, and education.

Since Inception in 1973


people have had their sight restored

A young woman who had her sight restored through our Gratis Ocular Tissue Program in partnership with Dr. Herbert Knauf during his mission trip to Honduras in 2018.

Support the Cause

Give now to restore sight and enhance quality-of-life for tissue recipients.

Your gift will fund cutting-edge research, support state-of-the-art surgeon training programs and develop innovative technologies. You can provide life-changing programs and services to help cornea and tissue recipients live happy and

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John Decaminada

In 2012, Dawn Decaminada was unexpectedly called to the hospital and notified that her father had suffered two brain aneurisms.

She had never considered the type of conversations she would need to have when her tough police officer father’s medical outlook was not well. And she had no idea that one of her signatures that day could change the life of a stranger she had not met. But she came from a family that understood the value of organ donation — her mother had received two kidney transplants.

When Dawn’s father’s aneurism burst, he died in her arms, which she somberly felt was an answer to her prayers as it was the way he would’ve wanted to go. His eyes and his skin were the only two things

he was able donate due to the fact that he was a smoker for the majority of his life. Since learning about Lions Eye Institute, Dawn’s become a strong supporter of LEITR’s mission.

When asked what she felt her father would want to share to those reading, Dawn says “I think that if my dad knew that he could change someone’s life the way that he did, he would probably want to take better care of himself. He had no idea he was leaving a legacy and changing a life. He’s inspired me and my husband to think about taking better care of ourselves, and to leave a legacy to help others have a better life. “

SAVE THE DATE: Eye Ball 2023

Since 1973, it has been our mission to help others see in Tampa Bay and around the globe. Join us in celebrating our 50th anniversary on Saturday, September 9, 2023, at Armature Works. Stay tuned for more information!

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