LONDON, April 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Leading eye research charity calls on the nation to consider the gift of sight
Despite a shortage in corneas for transplant purposes, new research[i] reveals that eyes are the one body part we are least likely to donate.
While more than a quarter of British adults (26 per cent) interviewed by http://www.optegra.com have registered for organ donation, almost two thirds (64 per cent) state they would not donate their eyes for transplant. They are more likely to donate their heart, kidney and lungs.
Which body parts would you donate for transplant or medical research?
51% would donate their kidney
49% would donate their liver
48% would donate their heart
47% would donate their lungs
36% would donate their eyes (cornea)
Base: Optegra.com research with 2,016 UK adults, aged 16 plus
Specialist eye hospital group, Optegra Eye Health Care, has joined forces with the UK's main eye research charity, Fight for Sight, to discover why people would not donate their corneal tissue - despite 86 per cent of people in the UK valuing their sight above any other sense[ii].
The new study highlights that three in 10 adults say their eyes are unique to them; 29 per cent say eyes are the most personal part of their body and more than a quarter (27 per cent) say it would upset their family. Finally, one in six say it is for a spiritual reason.
Yet around 10 million people worldwide are blind due to damaged corneas - usually from scarring caused by injury or infection[iii].
Rory Passmore, Managing Director for Optegra Eye Health Care, said: "With more and more people suffering eye conditions, particularly with an ageing population, it is more important than ever that we help if we can. We would really encourage people to discuss this with their families and complete a donor registration if they feel they can."
Fight for Sight Director of Research, Dr Dolores Conroy, says: "There is a need for 70 corneas per week with the main indications being keratoconus in younger people and endothelial failure - Fuchs dystrophy - in older people.
"With the lack of corneas available for transplants, it's vital to have new treatments such as stem cells therapies to repair damage to the cornea."
i. Optegra commissioned research with Censuswide in July 2015; online research with 2,016 adults aged 16 or over throughout the UK, 50 GPs and more than 50 optometrists.
ii. The College of Optometrists http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm/docid/A60DE8E4-B6CF-49ED-8E0FE694FCF4B426 See page 7 of report
iii. Fight for Sight - http://www.fightforsight.org.uk/our-research/research/2013-1433-daniels/
SOURCE Optegra Eye Health Care