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What We Do

  • Step 1

    Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation

  • Step 2

    Donor Service

  • Step 3

    Tissue Recovery

  • Step 4

    Donor Eligibility

  • Step 5

    Tissue Processing

  • Step 6

    Tissue Distribution

  • Step 7

    Clinical Development and Innovation

  • Step 8

    Ocular Research Center

  • Step 9

    Services for Our Program Partners

  • Step 10

    Lions Eye Institute Foundation

It all Starts with Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation

Lions Eye Institute serves as the stewards of a very precious gift. We recognize the incredible generosity of cornea and musculoskeletal tissue donors and their families. We offer a variety of programs to provide support and honor their sacrifice. Lions Eye Institute recovered tissue from 4,700 cornea donors and 650 tissue donors last year, restoring sight and enhancing the lives of over 9,000 people throughout the United States and in over 50 countries around the world through transplantation. You can save and transform lives by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today. https://www.donatelife.net/register/

Learn More With Our Educational Video

Register for Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation

Donor Services

When a person passes away, Lions Eye Institute receives a referral from the hospital, an organ procurement organization (OPO), or another partner. The Donor Services team is responsible for speaking with donor families and coordinating with the Recovery Team and our hospital partners. The entire recovery process must take place within the first 24 hours after the time of death. Often, our Donor Services Coordinators are often the first people that a family will talk to after losing their loved one.

Tissue Recovery

Our Ocular and Tissue Recovery team is responsible for the actual removal and preservation of donor tissue. Recovery technicians will travel to where the donor is, perform a physical evaluation, take a blood sample, create a sterile field, and recover and preserve the tissue for processing. Our Recovery Technicians treat donors with absolute respect to honor their sight-saving and life-altering gift of tissue donation.

Donor Eligibility

Our Donor Eligibility team is tasked with reviewing the medical records and social history of our donors. Ultimately, they decide whether tissue is safe for transplant or if it needs to be deferred. When we recover, process, and distribute human tissue, we are responsible for the health and safety of the transplant patient as it relates to that tissue. It is important that we ensure that there are no signs of communicable diseases that could be passed on to the recipient.

Tissue Processing

For ocular tissue, all recovered corneas intended for transplant come to our headquarters in Ybor City for processing by our Transplant Laboratory Operations team. They are responsible for the physical evaluation and preparation of corneal tissue for our surgeon partners. Our Laboratory Technicians use a variety of sophisticated equipment to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the tissue. Additionally, they must follow very strict procedures to maintain the hygienic integrity of the corneas. All other tissue types intended for transplant are delivered to our partner tissue bank for processing and evaluation.

Tissue Distribution

The Tissue Distribution departments are divided into Domestic and International. They work with our ophthalmic surgeons throughout the United States and around the globe to place corneal tissue for patients who need sight-saving surgery. In 2019, we placed over 9,000 corneas in the United States and over 50 other countries. As the largest nonprofit eye bank in the world, people in places without eye banks rely on us to help restore sight.

Clinical Development and Innovation

At Lions Eye Institute, we work hard to be at the forefront of cornea transplant. Our Clinical Development and Innovation department is dedicated to making surgery safer, more effective, and more efficient through cutting edge advancements in ophthalmic surgery. We have developed industry-altering technologies including new cornea shipment containers and new cornea delivery devices. We are also working to improve preservation methods and decontamination techniques to improve patient outcomes.

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 pre-clinical research model that offers unparalled quality, volume of human ocular tissue, and unique research facilities for pharmaceutical and medical device studies.

Services for Our Program Partners

Restoring sight and transforming lives is impossible for one organization to do alone. We rely on our donor families, healthcare partners, and surgeon partners to make our mission possible. In return we offer a variety of services for these key members of our community including a letter-writing program for donor families and recipients, training and reporting for our healthcare partners, and continuing education opportunities for our surgeon partners.

Lions Eye Institute Foundation

The Lions Eye Institute Foundation is a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, governed by our own Board of Directors, that is responsible for raising funds to advance the mission and vision of the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research. Foundation contributors help restore sight and enhance lives, fund our Ocular Research Center,  Surgeon Training Programs, Vision Health Program, Gratis Ocular Tissue Program, and COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, among many other worthwhile programs.

The Story of Lions Eye

Through the devotion of Lions Club members, the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research was founded as an eye bank dedicated to the evaluation and distribution of eye tissue for transplantation. Over the past 30-plus years, our commitment has remained the same — an unwavering dedication to clinical excellence and a passion for providing care and service delivered with compassion and respect.

Step 1

It all Starts with Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation

Lions Eye Institute serves as the stewards of a very precious gift. We recognize the incredible generosity of cornea and musculoskeletal tissue donors and their families. We offer a variety of programs to provide support and honor their sacrifice. Lions Eye Institute recovered tissue from 4,700 cornea donors and 650 tissue donors last year, restoring sight and enhancing the lives of over 9,000 people throughout the United States and in over 50 countries around the world through transplantation. You can save and transform lives by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today. https://www.donatelife.net/register/

Learn More With Our Educational Video

Register for Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation

Step 2

Donor Services

When a person passes away, Lions Eye Institute receives a referral from the hospital, an organ procurement organization (OPO), or another partner. The Donor Services team is responsible for speaking with donor families and coordinating with the Recovery Team and our hospital partners. The entire recovery process must take place within the first 24 hours after the time of death. Often, our Donor Services Coordinators are often the first people that a family will talk to after losing their loved one.

Step 3

Tissue Recovery

Our Ocular and Tissue Recovery team is responsible for the actual removal and preservation of donor tissue. Recovery technicians will travel to where the donor is, perform a physical evaluation, take a blood sample, create a sterile field, and recover and preserve the tissue for processing. Our Recovery Technicians treat donors with absolute respect to honor their sight-saving and life-altering gift of tissue donation.

Step 4

Donor Eligibility

Our Donor Eligibility team is tasked with reviewing the medical records and social history of our donors. Ultimately, they decide whether tissue is safe for transplant or if it needs to be deferred. When we recover, process, and distribute human tissue, we are responsible for the health and safety of the transplant patient as it relates to that tissue. It is important that we ensure that there are no signs of communicable diseases that could be passed on to the recipient.

Step 5

Tissue Processing

For ocular tissue, all recovered corneas intended for transplant come to our headquarters in Ybor City for processing by our Transplant Laboratory Operations team. They are responsible for the physical evaluation and preparation of corneal tissue for our surgeon partners. Our Laboratory Technicians use a variety of sophisticated equipment to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the tissue. Additionally, they must follow very strict procedures to maintain the hygienic integrity of the corneas. All other tissue types intended for transplant are delivered to our partner tissue bank for processing and evaluation.

Step 6

Tissue Distribution

The Tissue Distribution departments are divided into Domestic and International. They work with our ophthalmic surgeons throughout the United States and around the globe to place corneal tissue for patients who need sight-saving surgery. In 2019, we placed over 9,000 corneas in the United States and over 50 other countries. As the largest nonprofit eye bank in the world, people in places without eye banks rely on us to help restore sight.

Step 7

Clinical Development and Innovation

At Lions Eye Institute, we work hard to be at the forefront of cornea transplant. Our Clinical Development and Innovation department is dedicated to making surgery safer, more effective, and more efficient through cutting edge advancements in ophthalmic surgery. We have developed industry-altering technologies including new cornea shipment containers and new cornea delivery devices. We are also working to improve preservation methods and decontamination techniques to improve patient outcomes.

Step 8

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 pre-clinical research model that offers unparalled quality, volume of human ocular tissue, and unique research facilities for pharmaceutical and medical device studies.

Step 9

Services for Our Program Partners

Restoring sight and transforming lives is impossible for one organization to do alone. We rely on our donor families, healthcare partners, and surgeon partners to make our mission possible. In return we offer a variety of services for these key members of our community including a letter-writing program for donor families and recipients, training and reporting for our healthcare partners, and continuing education opportunities for our surgeon partners.

Step 10

Lions Eye Institute Foundation

The Lions Eye Institute Foundation is a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, governed by our own Board of Directors, that is responsible for raising funds to advance the mission and vision of the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research. Foundation contributors help restore sight and enhance lives, fund our Ocular Research Center,  Surgeon Training Programs, Vision Health Program, Gratis Ocular Tissue Program, and COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, among many other worthwhile programs.

You’ve Seen What We Do, Now See Our Impact.

Our mission is to set new standards in eye banking, tissue recovery, and ocular research, that transform and improve the lives of our patients, honor our tissue donors and their families, and provide enhanced services for our surgeon partners.

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