Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin working to help those waiting for corneal transplants

Posted: 7:24 PM, May 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-05 00:28:37Z

MILWAUKEE -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says there are 46,000 people in the United States waiting for corneal transplants.

The non-profit Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin is working to lower those numbers nationwide. 

Ann Otter works at the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin as their Hospital Services Liaison. She's also a double cornea transplant recipient and says the success of her story makes her want to share the importance of transplant donations. 

Executive Director of Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin, Darice Langham says donors in good health, are great candidates at any age. The department of health says one person can save up to 50 lives.  

This is most apparent in Otter's case, her  1990 and 1991 corneal transplant donors were both older than her during the procedure. As she points to her right then left eye she explains. 

"She was 63. So, in March she turned 91. This is the young whipper-snapper he's going to be 81 in august," says Otter. 

Langham says the eye bank helps with nearly 1,600 transplants a year. Of those surgeries, 900 are corneal transplants. The continued success of surgeries and transplants have led Wisconsin to be waitlist free for corneal transplants. She says some of their corneas are offered to other organizations in need across the globe.