Health Watch - Donation and Transplants: Corneas

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Organ, tissue and blood donations help save lives, but the need still outpaces the supply. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about donations and transplants and some research on helping people when they can’t get a transplant. Tissue transplants don’t get as much publicity as organ transplants, but they can still make a big difference in quality of life.

One tissue that can be transplanted is corneas. A cornea transplant can save a person’s sight. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that more people can donate corneas than was previously thought. Previously, cornea donation was limited to people younger than 70.

But Dr. Dwight Cavanagh, a UT Southwestern ophthalmologist, says research found that corneas from older donors had high enough cell counts and a good success rate in transplants. Since most tissue donors are older, that means more corneas may be available for transplants.


May 2010

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.