…more than just about Saint Patrick’s Day, wearing your green shirt and a Leprechaun hat. It means SO much more to MILLIONS of us, world-wide.
Because, March is National Eye Donor Month in the United State. It is a time to let our donors, known or (in my case) unknown to shine. And to bring awareness to the need for those that are willing to give the Gift of Sight when it’s their time.
Plus, even though Corneal Transplantation is the most performed transplant surgery, globally, and has the highest success rate above ALL other transplants that are performed annually, it is also the LEAST talked about procedure.
As simple as it sounds, undergoing a Corneal Transplant, also known as a Keratoplasty, is NOT a walk in the proverbial park to undergo this kind of surgery. Especially the post-op for months, and yes, even YEARS later. But even then, for us, it is honestly a small price to pay in return for the gift that was bestowed upon us.
Some of us had to have a transplant due to having a coning of our cornea. Some of us had our cornea eaten away from infection. Some also had a perforation due to a traumatic injury. There are several reasons behind needing a Donor’s cornea to replace the one that we were born with.
But no matter the reason behind the need, it is a surgery that none of us will soon, if ever forget.
In the USA, there are states, including where mine was performed, which was North Carolina, that you are not allowed by state law, to know ANYTHING regarding your donor. Not event their gender. In other states, it’s very limited on what information is allowed. And in some, depending on the donor family and the recipient, who in ANY of these cases, must go through the appropriate “channels”, there is an allotment of mostly-full disclosure right off of the bat. It all depends from state to state.
I myself have written to my Donor’s family. I have seriously thought of doing it just once more. Kind of do a little update and wish them well. Nothing too fancy. I never received a reply back the first time, so I certainly am not going to expect one this time, either. And I’m okay with this.
Over in the UK, their Donor Registration is pretty low. For ALL forms of transplantation. As is the case in Australia. Sri Lanka is now the TOP Eye Donor Bank in the world, thanks to most everyone there being an eye donor. They even ship donor eyes to other countries (primarily third world) due to having such an abundance of eye donations.
If only we, the USA could be like this. And not just with our eyes. But with our lungs, hearts, livers and other areas of the body. Can you imagine how many lives we could save? How many people could regain their sight? And how many lives would be enhanced and their quality of live being one of worth living.
And the most wonderful thing about eye/cornea donation? Most (as in about 98%) people from ALL walks of life can become an eye donor! There are very, very few restrictions to be disqualified as an Eye/Cornea Donor. And of course, only the surgeon that is performing the removal of the organs and eyes can indeed make that decision at the time.
The eyes are the most available. But only if you become a Registered Donor with your local chapter of Donate Life America , LifeNet, or an Organ/Eye/Tissue Donation organization near you in your country (if outside of the USA). And of course, let your family and your close friends know of your wishes, so it won’t be too hard on them. And if you become a Hero, be sure to also have it stated in your medical and hospital records, as well.
YOU are the difference. And it is true what they say, in my mind, that the eyes are the windows to the soul. And my soul, along with my heart, made room for another person that I will NEVER meet in this lifetime, but who is with me always. Not only as a physical part of me, but as a piece of my heart as well. My Donor still sees. Through me. And I can see again because they gave the ultimate gift of love. A love to humanity and the will to fight and to live.
This is what Eye Donation, and all other Donations are about. Love. For others, more so than for yourself. To want to help the helpless. To save others.
Please, become an Eye Donor today. Register at Donate Life, LifeNet or at your local DMV office. It’s quick, easy and free. And it’s one of the greatest things you will ever do with your life.