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Release: Dec. 13, 2001

Iowa Lions Eye Bank moves to new location

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Lions Eye Bank will move from its current location at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to 2346 Mormon Trek Boulevard in Iowa City on Dec. 18.

The Iowa Lions of Iowa, in conjunction with the University of Iowa department of ophthalmology under Alson E. Braley, M.D., established the Iowa Lions Eye Bank in 1955. Now, approximately 400 Lions and Lioness Clubs in Iowa help support the Iowa Lions Eye Bank through volunteerism and fund raising. The nearly 13,000 Lions and Lioness club members play a vital role in the success of the Eye Bank.

"Our program has grown tremendously over the years and our new location will help accommodate our needs for expanded space and additional staff members," said Patricia Mason, director of the Eye Bank. "We will of course continue our close relationship with UI Hospitals and Clinics in serving the needs of patients."

Another vital volunteer link in the mission of the Eye Bank is the Iowa State Patrol. Troopers have transported donor eyes to the Eye Bank since its inception.

In 1999, eye bank technicians began traveling to hospitals within a 60-mile radius of Iowa City to recover corneal tissue from donated eyes. This process allows the cornea to be immediately preserved for transplantation, increasing the viability and quality of the tissue. In 2001, this recovery travel area was extended to all of eastern Iowa.

The Iowa Lions Eye Bank reported a record year in 2000, with 1,408 donor eyes received and 832 corneas provided for transplant, a 113 percent increase from 1999. Of that total, 299 Iowans received corneal transplants, 261 corneas were offered to patients elsewhere in the United States, 122 went to international recipients and 150 corneas were provided free of charge for transplants in developing nations. Since 1960, eye banks nationwide have made possible more than 700,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants, and the Iowa Lions Eye Bank provided tissue for 8,554 such transplants in that period.

The Iowa Lions Eye Bank also plays a central role in research. In 2000, the bank provided 310 donated eyes to the world-renowned UI Center for Macular Degeneration to study age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The Iowa Lions Eye Bank is also among 32 eye banks in the United States participating in a five-year study of the potential viability of accepting older adults as eye donors.

The Iowa Lions Eye Bank is an accredited charter member of the Eye Bank Association of America and is inspected every three years to ensure quality control and adherence to strict medical standards. In addition, the Iowa Lions Eye Bank is one of only 13 U.S. eye banks belonging to Vision Share, a national leader in the eye banking community, dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards for donor tissue, quality and donor screening.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.