The cornea is the center of the eye through which we see. Normally, it is smooth and clear. But injury, disease, and certain medical conditions can make it cloudy and make vision difficult.
Removing some or all of the cornea and replacing it with corneal tissue from an organ donor can sometimes restore vision. This procedure is called corneal transplantation. According to the Eye Bank Association of America, nearly 50,000 corneal transplantations are performed in the United States yearly.
In all cases the medical history of each medical donor is carefully reviewed and blood tests are performed to check for infections prior to transplantation. If there is any doubt about the safety of corneal transplantation, the donated tissues are used for medical research instead of being transplanted into a patient’s eye.