Today is World Sight Day and marks the launch of our ‘Let them see what they can only imagine’ campaign. The campaign aims to encourage more people to say ‘Yes I Donate’ to cornea donation and share this decision with those closest to them.
Every day Tissues and Eye Services need to collect 10 cornea donations to meet patient needs, however there is currently a shortage of donated corneas.
To address this issue, an inspiring video has been created with a recipient of corneas. There will be thought-provoking advertising activity on social media sites, a new range of leaflets and posters has been produced and more patient stories have been uploaded to our website.
The campaign will be ongoing and aims to normalise cornea donation to increase consent rates. It will be particularly targeted around eye donation Referral Super Centres in Bolton, Bristol, Newcastle, Romford, Salford and Wigan. Marion Jones, Hospital Development Nurse in Tissue Services, will be available in Filton from 11am -2pm if you would like more information or would like to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Laura Grady, a 37-year-old mum of one, has had transplants in both eyes and said “I feel forever grateful to my donor and their family. Words are not enough to express my gratitude! I was lucky that I lost my sight gradually one eye at a time as I didn’t feel the full impact of losing my sight. However, now I have had both eyes done, I know how very different my life would be if I hadn’t been so lucky as to receive both of these corneas.”
While people are less likely to opt for cornea donation than for other organs, the shortage of corneas is not due to a shortage of potential donors. Almost anyone can be a cornea donor and you are more likely to be able to donate your corneas than your organs, though family agreement to consent is always needed. It is here that we need behaviour to change, which will occur primarily by enabling and inspiring more conversations about cornea donation.
We have Tissue Ambassadors who work to raise awareness of tissue donation and, in particular, the need for corneas. Ali Cooper, OD Customer Services Manager, is also a Tissue Ambassador and tells us her reasons for doing this role in her very personal blog.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register or update your preferences click here. If you would like to learn more about cornea donation visit the Organ Donation website. Make sure you tell those closest to you about your decision.
Look out for our ‘Let them see what they can only imagine’ video too and be sure to share it on social media to get people talking about this life-changing subject!