What is an eye bank?
The Florida Lions Eye Bank is more than just an eye bank. Learn more about our mission and history.
An eye bank is a not-for-profit organization that obtains, medically evaluates, and distributes eyes donated by generous individuals for use in corneal transplant surgery, research, and education. Eye banks in the United States provide tissue for over 70,000 corneal transplants annually. Of these, over 1,200 grafts are provided by the Florida Lions Eye Bank per year.
Who we are
The Florida Lions Eye Bank is a fully EBAA-accredited eye bank. Our primary mission is to recover, process, and distribute corneal and scleral tissue for sight-saving transplant surgery. To make this happen, we rely upon the selflessness of the individuals and their families who choose to donate their eyes upon their death.
The Florida Lions Eye Bank isn’t just an eye bank, though. We also operate the only ocular pathology lab in South Florida. Our laboratory is a comprehensive resource for tissue evaluation, patient diagnosis, physician training, and clinical archive.
Additionally, the Florida Lions Eye Bank is dedicated to furthering ophthalmic research. Every year, we provide several hundred thousand dollars in grants to qualified ophthalmic research efforts. To learn about some of the projects the Florida Lions Eye Bank has funded. We also supply whole eye tissue for research and physician training at no cost.
Since our founding over 50 years ago, the Florida Lions Eye Bank has restored the beauty of sight to over 44,000 cornea transplant recipients. Additionally, more than 15,000 pieces of sclera and preserved corneal tissue have been provided to patients for other surgical uses. Nearly 33,000 whole eyes have been supplied to researchers at no cost, and 93,000 specimens have been examined in our pathology lab. To date, we have provided over $3 million in grants to research projects intended to cure, treat, or prevent eye disease. We are proud to have made such a difference in our South Florida community, and beyond.
The Florida Lions Eye Bank was founded in 1962 as a cooperative effort between the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Florida Lions Clubs. Since its inception, the Florida Lions Eye Bank has been located within the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Indeed, the Florida Lions Eye Bank and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute have evolved side by side since each opened its doors over 50 years ago.
In 1943, Dr. Bascom H. Palmer, the first surgeon in Florida to perform corneal transplants, began developing a plan to establish the first full service eye hospital in the Southeastern United States. Two of Dr. Palmer’s colleagues from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Edward W.D. Norton and Dr. Victor Curtin, recognized the need for an eye bank to serve the patients at Dr. Palmer’s forthcoming hospital.
In 1960, Drs. Norton and Curtin encouraged Florida Lions Clubs to establish the first eye bank in Florida. The Lions rose to the challenge, and raised enough funds to establish the Florida Lions Eye Bank. Within two years, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute opened its doors to patients, and the Florida Lions Eye Bank provided its first cornea to restore the beauty of sight.
Memorial Wall Donations
The Florida Lions Eye Bank Memorial Wall
is a meaningful way to honor family,
friends, and loved ones who have passed
Century Club Membership
Your membership in the Century Club
ensures the future of Florida Lions Eye
Bank for years to come. All funds raised
by the Century Club are invested for long-term
growth, so we can continue to restore
the beauty of sight to future generations.