Programs We Support

Florida Lions Eye Bank

Lions Eye BankThe Florida Lions Eye Bank was established in1962 as a non-profit organization to provide donor eye tissue to ophthalmologists for corneal transplantation. Since then, nearly 40,000 people have received this precious Gift of Sight. The Eye Bank also maintains a highly regarded pathology laboratory for studying eye disease and also provides resources and tissue for teaching and research.

How We Help In Research Efforts The Florida Lions Eye Bank provides both funding and critical eye tissue used in research at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's Biophysics Research Center at the William L. McKnight Vision Research Center. The Eye Bank's Ocular Pathology Laboratory also adds the base of medical knowledge while helping to train future ophthalmologists. Over the years, the Eye Bank's has participated in numerous breakthroughs in the areas of biophysics, molecular biosciences and biomedical technology, as well as the development and invention of numerous ophthalmic instruments.

Supporting Research to Study the Human Lens The Eye Bank continues its support of efforts to understand the human eye lens - a mysterious and miraculous tissue inside the eye that allows us to view a distant sunrise and the fine print on a medicine bottle. At the Ophthalmic Biophysics Laboratory, research to solve the puzzle of the human lens continues on many fronts. The goal of this worldwide effort is so that one day it will be possible to replace or repair the lens and, perhaps, to toss out your reading glasses. Thanks to funding and many donated eyes from the Florida Lions Eye Bank, advances are being made.

Recipient Profiles
After Accident, Cornea Transplant Puts Bridgette's Life Back on Track. It happened in May of 2008. A freak accident that resulted in a glass bottle exploding and turning shards of glass into missiles that flew into one of Bridgette Breault's eyes. A resident of Broward County, 32-year-old Bridgette was rushed to University of Miami's Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The prognosis was not good. There were five deep cuts in her eye and her eye lid was also lacerated. The ophthalmologists were not sure that her eye could be saved. After two hours of surgery, stitches and a special glue to seal her eye tissue together, she went home not knowing if she would see again from the injured eye.

Throughout the summer, Bridgette was barely mobile, unable to lift most objects or even brush her teeth. The simple act of bending over would cause pain and possibly tear the sutures. As the weeks turned to months, Bridgette continued to suffer intense physical and emotional pain. She had to keep it covered and even wear sunglasses indoors because of light sensitivity. "

Because of the extent of the trauma in the center of Bridgette's eye, it was clear that a corneal transplant would be necessary," said Assistant Professor Leejee Suh, M.D. of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute who ultimately performed the corneal transplant. All of this was particularly difficult for Bridgette because of her active lifestyle. Energetic and athletic, she enjoys the beach and swimming, outdoor exercise and activities with her friends.

Another issue was Bridgette's age. Since she is young, her surgeon preferred to use corneal tissue from a younger person. This is where the Florida Lions Eye Bank played its important role in locating and preparing the tissue for transplant.

Early in September, the perfect tissue from a 41-year-old donor became available.

"When I heard that a cornea arrived for me, I thought it was the happiest day of my life," Bridgette said. "Then I realized the happiest moment was the following day when the surgery was complete and the gauze was patch were removed and I could see!" And most importantly, for the first time in nearly four months, she had no pain. A month later, Bridgette was back at work. She was able to drive again and was quickly healing. "With all I have endured, I have learned a lot about what is important," she said. "I will carry that new outlook with me forever."

For more information visit the Florida Lions Eye Bank website