More family members of patients donate their corneas, with more surgeries using local corneal donations
Professor Chen Changhui, the medical director of the Eye Bank, said in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao that the eye bank has received positive response to educational activities over the years, with 236 local corneal donations last year - 14 more than 2015. Singapore has a record of 195 corneal donations this year – an encouraging number.
As more are willing to donate the corneas of their deceased family members, there have been more corneal transplant surgeries using local donor corneas, moderately reducing the dependence on foreignly-donated corneas.
Professor Chen Changhui, the medical director of the Eye Bank shared in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao that the annual publicity campaign of the Eye Bank has received positive response. The number of local corneal donations last year was 236, 14 more than 2015. Singapore has a record of 195 corneal donations this year – an encouraging number.
On top of that, as of the end of July this year, 40% of the 293 corneal surgeries this year was donated by local patients. Of the 490 surgeries performed last year, only 31% used local corneas.
"It is a good sign that the number of local corneal donations are on the rise, as it shows that more people are aware of the importance of donating corneas, and that every cornea matter and can allow others to see the light again."
Ideally to use local corneas for all surgeries
"Over the years, the Singapore Eye Bank organised many promotional activities to raise public awareness. We also promote these activities to healthcare workers reguarly, because many specialist will be in touch with the patients. And we hoping to improve the understanding amongst patients and families of corneal donations.
Chen Changhui admits that the ideal situation is that every person who needs to undergo corneal transplant surgery can always use the local donor's cornea. Because of transporting, foreign corneas are more expensive than local donations.
Foreignly donated corneas generally come from Sri Lanka, the United States and other countries.
In order to raise awareness on the cornea donation and transplantation and create a positive attitude towards the issue, the Eye Bank is organising the "Say Eye Do 2017" publicity campaign. Through photography contests, the event invites people to capture the daily lives of the visually impaired to help the public see better from their perspectives.
The contest received more than 50 entries in the past two months, and eventually 20 works were put into the finals for public voting, with a number of ophthalmologists being judges for the 1st 2nd and 3rd positions.
The winner was freelance graphic designer Wang Yichao (31 years old). He captured a mother wearing a sunglasses lens, in which the reflection reflected a happy baby' expression to represent the idea of "protecting the eyes from childhood”.
Prior to this, the public had also selected three of their favorite works through Facebook. The first place was written by Chen Wenyun (40 years old, curator project manager). She captured the frustration of her grandma, who had to wear heavy glasses after her cataract surgery.
All 20 entries will be on display at Tampines Mall and nex in October.