At a time when the international community is becoming increasingly aware of the power of organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation, OneLegacy CEO Tom Mone will be traveling to South Korea this week to spread that message and discuss best practices with local officials and related organizations. OneLegacy is the worlds largest independent organ, eye and tissue recovery organization.
Much of Mones focus will center around eye banking and cornea transplantation as he presents an overview of international cornea procurement and transplantation, discusses the history of cornea donation in America, and shares what is involved from both a cost and programmatic standpoint in becoming a certified eye bank center. Among those Mone will be meeting with on his three-day trip are the director of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the National Assemblys Health and Wellness Committee, and officials from the Korean Organ Donor Program.
The donor cornea is an amazing gift that can be used to replace a cornea that has been injured or diseased, said Mone. Since 1961 more than 1.5 million people worldwide have had their sight restored through this procedure, yet millions of people around the world struggle to live with corneal blindness. Through my visit I hope to share with Korean officials OneLegacys successes in integrating cornea recovery and eye banking into organ recovery operations to enable the gift of sight through successful corneal transplantation for their citizens.
A corneal transplant replaces a portion of an impaired cornea (brought on by disease, injury, infection or any other causes) with a healthy donor cornea, making corneal blindness a highly treatable condition. Each year U.S. eye banks provide tissue for an average of over 70,000 corneal transplants; and over 95 percent of all corneal transplant operations successfully restore the corneal recipients vision, according to the Eye Bank Association of America.
OneLegacy currently operates the largest eye bank in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties from where it recovers, evaluates, processes and distributes an array of ocular tissue for transplantation and research. It is the only eye bank in Los Angeles that provides all ocular products, including not only corneas needed for transplantation but also ocular tissue needed for glaucoma surgeries. Although its focus is to provide ocular tissue to ophthalmologists within its own community, the OneLegacy eye bank has helped cure corneal blindness worldwide by providing corneas to over 25 countries.
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In South Korea Mone will discuss the ongoing performance of the OneLegacy eye bank, including the training of its technicians, its commitment to research and the role it plays in educating local ophthalmic surgeons through a variety of programs and training wet labs throughout the year. He will also share best practices that have emerged since OneLegacy opened its first eye bank in 2013.
Mones visit to South Korea comes on the heels of his visit late last year to China where he trained physicians and nurses in the operations of organ, tissue and eye donation programs. The simple truth is that donation saves and heals lives, he said. Donation and transplantation know no national, ethnic or religious boundaries; and it is important that the international community does all that it can to encourage the power of donation to heal the lives of those receiving transplants and of those families who help to make the gift of life possible.
OneLegacy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and healing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in seven counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern. Serving more than 200 hospitals, 11 transplant centers and a diverse population of over 20 million, OneLegacy is the largest organ, eye and tissue recovery organization in the world, enabling 150,000 transplantations each year. For more information, visit onelegacy.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.