Record number of corneas donated in 2016: Singapore Eye Bank

Opthalmologist George Co from the University of Santo Tomas removes a cataract from the eye of 43 year-old Marisol Leona, during surgery in Manila on January 16, 2011. Volunteer doctors from the University of Santo Tomas in cooperation with a Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation operated on 400 patients for free to remove cataracts during an outreach programme in conjunction with the 400 year anniversary of the University of Santo Tomas, which has the oldest extant university charter in Asia. AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO / AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO

Singapore saw a record 236 cornea donations in 2016, amid growing public awareness of the need for donors, said the Singapore Eye Bank (SEB) on Monday (17 April).

According to the SEB, the figure beats the previous record of 222 donations, set in 2015. In a statement, the SEB noted that there is a “growing list of patients” who are waiting for a corneal graft operation to restore their sight.

The increase is attributed to Singaporeans recognising that they are able to play a part in improving the lives of those who need corneas.

Founded in 1991, SEB provides human corneal tissue of excellent quality to patients in need of a transplant through its eye donation programmes at the Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Changi General Hospital and the National University Hospital.  SEB also participates in the national multi-organ donation programs.

Meanwhile, the Republic is growing into one of the leading corneal transplant centres in the world, with local clinical results surpassing many international transplant programs, said the SEB. In a recent study, Singapore was ranked third in Asia for having the highest cornea tissue procurement per capita after Sri Lanka and India.

SEB hopes to continue to increase awareness on cornea donation and aims to achieve another milestone in cornea donations in 2017 to meet the demands of patients waiting for corneal drafts.