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Supplying Critical Research Requests

We meet challenging requirements and requests necessary to develop new treatments for ophthalmic diseases.

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Ocular Research Center

The Ocular Research Center at Lions Eye Institute is a one-of-a-kind model. It is the first and only combined eye bank and ocular research center in the world. Our research center empowers scientists to conduct real-time studies of healthy and diseased ocular tissue. This breakthrough model answers a critical need by providing normal and diseased human eye tissue to advance our understanding of events that lead to blindness. We collaborated with leading industry institutions to develop a new pre-clinical research model offering unparalleled quality, volumes of human ocular tissue, and unique research facilities for pharmaceutical or medical device studies.

Lions Eye Institute typically supplies ocular tissues with the following criteria:
  • High quality and low death-to-preservation time
  • Age, race, and gender-specific criteria
  • Control and diseased tissue to include glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy
  • Whole globes, corneas, lenses, sclera, retinas/RPE, trabecular meshwork, optic nerves, and other tissue as requested
  • Access to donor medical history as known at the time of death

Death-to-Preservation Time

Pie Chart of Death-to-Preservation time detailing 18% of cases are preserved within four hours after death, 50% of cases are preserved between four and six hours after death, 20% of cases are preserved between six and eight hours after death, 8% of cases are preserved between eight and twelve hours after death, and 4% of cases persevered more than twelve hours after death.

pie chart

For 2020, >88% of our 427 whole globe donors were recovered in under 8 hours.

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Resources at the Ocular Research Center

We offer a large variety of services for our research partners including, but not limited to the posthumous grading of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma tissue; retina organ culture; perfused anterior organ culture; dissection, preparation, and histology; cell culture; and on-site collaboration opportunities.

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Bio Repository

Our bio repository was funded through the generosity of the Francis and Gertrude Levett Foundation. It houses a bank of ocular tissue with age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other blinding eye diseases. It also allows us to keep a stock of frozen cultured cells for when our research partners need them.

These include:
  • Culturing of primary ocular cells: trabecular meshwork, retinal pigment epithelial cells, corneal endothelial cells, laminal cribrosal cells
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  • Some stocks of low-passage primary cells from trabecular meshwork, Tenon’s fibroblasts, laminal cribrosal cells
  • Histological sections of normal and diseased tissues (cryosections and paraffin), sections from paraffin and OCT blocks from diseased and age- matched control donors.
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Paraffin Histology: AMD donor (200x Magnification) with drusen
Glacuoma donor (200x)

Learn More About Our Ocular Research Center


We supply some of the world’s largest and most prestigious institutions & ophthalmic companies with an unsurpassed quality and volume of research tissue including Rutgers, Emory, Singapore Eye Hospital, Moorfields London, Alcon, Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Novatis & Genentech. Many of these projects have resulted in publications.

See All Our Publications
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Research Advisory Board

We are lucky to have a dedicated advisory board composed of basic scientists, clinician scientists, and industry leaders who advise us on changes to the field of eye research. This highly talented and accomplished group assists with identifying the changing needs of university and health care professionals who need high-quality human eye tissues to research eye diseases and test new surgical and pharmaceutical therapies.

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