There is growing need for tissue from the posterior pole or the back of the eye where common blinding diseases inflict their greatest damage. Researchers need donated eyes to investigate causes of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Scientists also need normal tissue to use as controls in studies aimed at uncovering the mechanical, biochemical, or genetic differences between diseased and normal eyes.

Often young eye donors are treated as cornea-only donors. But it is the posterior poles from which researchers can learn the most about many of the major eye diseases that cause blindness with aging. Most cornea donors that are rejected due to various diseases can also still support important eye research.

In addition researchers are working to address cataracts and other lens diseases that are the leading causes of blindness in the world. Researchers have discovered possible molecular or cellular triggers for cataracts but need donated human lenses to confirm their role in cataract formation and to test ways to prevent them from causing cataracts. Investigators also need human lenses to study ways to prevent or delay the development of presbyopia, a lens malfunctioning that forces most people to need reading glasses by midlife.

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