OneLegacy announced the opening of the largest eye bank in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. From this location, OneLegacy will recover, evaluate, process and distribute an array of ocular tissue for transplantation and research. It will also be the only eye bank in Los Angeles that houses all ocular products, including not only corneas needed for transplantation but also ocular tissue needed for glaucoma surgeries.
OneLegacy has been operating an eye bank since 2013, but this new state-of-the-art facility will allow for greater capacity and more rapid recovery and distribution of ocular tissue throughout the Southern California communities. It will also serve as home to free on-site wet laboratory training for corneal transplant surgeons and residents.
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 recipient’s vision, according to the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA).
The OneLegacy Eye Bank is staffed by specially trained technicians who surgically retrieve the cornea and bring it to the eye bank where the tissue is carefully evaluated to ensure optimal quality. This includes both an evaluation of the cornea itself as well as a medical chart review of the donor to verify that there were circumstances (such as infections or a few highly communicable diseases including HIV or hepatitis) that would disqualify the donation. The “approved” cornea is then distributed to a corneal surgeon who transplants this tissue into his or her patient as soon as possible, typically 2-5 days following donation.
“Our new eye bank facility will serve our community much more quickly and provide local surgeons the ocular tissue needed to give the gift of sight to their patients,” Prasad Garimella, chief operating officer of OneLegacy and executive director of the OneLegacy Eye Bank, said in a company news release. Garimella points out that since 1961 more than 1.5 million people worldwide have had their sight restored “thanks to the priceless gift of corneal donation from one person to another.”
In addition to facilitating the donation and transplantation process, OneLegacy Eye Bank will offer education to local transplant surgeons. On September 30, OneLegacy will hold its first surgical wet laboratory training in the eye bank’s new facility. At that time cornea surgeons, fellows and residents will be trained in the DALK surgical procedure, a modern technique whereby the outer two layers of the cornea are removed and replaced with the outer two layers from a donor cornea to give a partial-thickness transplant. Later this year, similar training programs will be held on other emerging technologies in ophthalmology. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OneLegacy Eye Bank is accredited by the EBAA and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Although its focus is primarily to provide quality ocular tissue to the Southern California community, OneLegacy has helped cure corneal blindness in over 25 countries worldwide.