WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Miracles In Sight, one of the largest eye banks in the world, has donated $500,000 to the Duke Eye Center in Durham, NC to pilot a three-year program designed to improve the availability of human eye tissue for sight-saving research. The grant will also be used to establish a registry where individuals suffering from eye disease can indicate their desire to donate their eyes to research.
"Scientists are facing a shortage of donated human eye tissue for research, which is critical for understanding the root causes of eye disease," says Dr. Daniel Stamer, Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering, Duke Eye Center. "Damaged tissue from devastating diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration provide valuable research material for these uniquely human conditions."
Stamer points out that while eye banks, such as Miracles In Sight, are doing a great job of providing tissue for corneal transplants, research is always looking down the road to identify causes and cures of disease.
"With this program, we are trying to increase the number and quality of donor eyes for research, streamline procurement protocols and provide better medical documentation of tissue," explains Stamer. "Having a good medical history on donor tissue will help us understand what has happened to the eyes over a life span, which informs our research and moves us closer to identifying cures."
Stamer and his team have worked with Miracles In Sight and Duke University Hospital to lift age restrictions on donated tissue, gain access to medical records, and implement procedures for recovering and delivering tissue directly to scientists in half the time.
"One of our goals for this first-of-a-kind project is to develop a model that can be replicated at other research centers, making it easier for eye researchers to obtain fresh tissue locally," Stamer says. "We also want to spread the message to patients, their families and their doctors that we are trying to help people with eye disease. While patients may think their eyes are broken, they may be surprised to learn that their eyes are incredibly valuable."
"We are excited to provide funding for Dr. Stamer's important research," says Dean Vavra, CEO, Miracles In Sight. "In addition to our dedication to helping restore sight through transplantation, we are committed to supporting laboratory research that will advance our understanding of blinding diseases, leading to cures."
The Miracles In Sight grant will be used for tissue procurement, development of protocols for and creation of an eye donation registry to ensure that donors and their families can elect donation of eye tissue for research if the donor tissue is ineligible for transplantation, and establishment of more effective documentation procedures of donor tissue through the integration of electronic medical records across Duke's medical center.
About Miracles In Sight
Miracles In Sight (formerly the North Carolina Eye Bank), based in Winston-Salem, NC, is one of the largest eye banks in the world. The mission of Miracles In Sight is to recover, process and distribute ocular tissue for the restoration of sight through corneal transplantation and related medical therapy and research. A significant part of this mission is stewardship focused on training and educating the medical community and supporting partners and organizations around the world.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/miracles-in-sight-donates-500000-to-duke-eye-center-for-research-designed-to-cure-blinding-eye-diseases-300357885.html
SOURCE Miracles In Sight