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The new eye bank opened in Mashhad on Wednesday. At right Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi (L),  and Mashhad governor  Alireza Rashidian.
The new eye bank opened in Mashhad on Wednesday. At right Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi (L),  and Mashhad governor  Alireza Rashidian.

Eye Bank Opens in Mashhad

There should be one eye bank for every 20 million people in order to reach global standards in corneal transplant and for R&D, which means four eye banks should be established for the 80-million population

Eye Bank Opens in Mashhad

The second eye bank opened in the shrine city of Mashhad, the capital of northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province, on Wednesday.
There should be one eye bank for every 20 million people in order to reach global standards in corneal transplant and for R&D, which means four eye banks should be established for the 80 million people.
An eye bank obtains, medically evaluates and distributes eyes donated by individuals upon their death for use in corneal transplantation, research, and education.
“Two decades ago, the country’s first eye bank opened in Tehran. With the aim to get closer to global standards, the second eye bank was opened in Mashhad, the second most populous city after Tehran,” said Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, who was present on the occasion, IRNA reported.
“The eye bank, affiliated to Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (MUMS), has been established on a land area of 800 sq meters with a capacity to store 50 cornea tissues for transplant per day,” said Siamak Zarei, project manager.
Cornea should be kept in a solution at 4 to 8 degrees C and can be stored for transplantation only for seven to 10 days. The bank collects and stores cornea from donors (who have donation cards) after their death as well as brain-dead donors if their families permit.  
The eye bank’s equipment has been purchased from the US, Canada, and Germany, Zarei added.
Cornea can be harvested between 24 and 48 hours after death. Before transplantation, a blood sample of the donor is sent to the center’s laboratory. Organs from donors who have tested negative for hepatitis C, B, and syphilis can be used for transplantation, he said.

  Corneal Transplants
A cornea transplant, also called keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. Cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of the eye that accounts for a large part of the eye’s focusing power.
Earlier, Dr. Mahmoud Jabarvand, head of the Farabi Eye Hospital had said annually 6,000 to 7,000 corneal transplants are performed in the country. The average waiting time for cornea transplant is two weeks in Iran.
Corneal graft was the first organ transplant in the country performed more than 80 years ago. “With important advances in surgical methods over the decades, 80% of the patients vision is restored,” he said.
A total of 80% of the world’s blind live in developing countries. Retinal diseases are the most important causes of blindness (40-54%) in developed nations while cataract (44-60%) and corneal diseases (8-25%) are common causes of blindness in less developed countries.
Keratitis (inflammation of cornea as a result of infection or injury followed by infection) during childhood, trauma, and keratitis during adulthood resulting in a corneal scar are frequent causes of corneal blindness in developing countries.
Corneal diseases are responsible for 20% of childhood blindness. Nearly 80% of all corneal blindness is avoidable.
Other barriers for surgery to the cornea in developing countries are suboptimal eye banking, lack of trained human resources, and infrastructure.
Corneal transplantation services need a comprehensive approach encompassing medical standards in eye banking, training of cornea specialists and eye banking personnel and exposure of ophthalmologists to corneal transplant care for better follow-up.
However, concerted efforts should be made to develop and implement prevention strategies since most corneal blindness is preventable.

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