Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rotary hears about Iowa Lions Eye Bank

Thanks to Kathy Salazar for arranging for a great presentation from Maryam Mortazavi of the Iowa Lions Eye Bank in Iowa City.

Maryam Mortazavi gives us the numbers on organ donations

Maryam told us there were currently 583 Iowans on a waiting list to receive a donated organ. She said that the Iowa Lions Eye Bank focuses on eye and cornea donations. People can donate their cornea, sclera (the white stuff), and the whole globe which is used for research.

Eye organ donations start with the Iowa Donor Network, which then funnels those donors to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank. There are 1.8 million Iowans that have signed up to be organ donors. There are two main ways that Iowans become registered to be organ donors.

  • Sign up when you renew your drivers license
  • You can also sign up online at the Iowa Donor Registry
I have been reassured several times from reliable sources that if you register to be an organ donor, they will wait until you're dead to harvest any organs. Apparently, it is not like getting called all the time to donate blood. Once you sign up, no one will call you to come in and "help them out..."

Maryam had a couple of great videos about the impact of donors or on how the donor system works. Check out these video at their YouTube channel.

In Iowa in 2012, there were 937 donors that donated 1871 eyes. There were 980 transplants as a result, and 474 eyes were used for research.

Today, there is a 90% success rate for cornea transplants to achieve 20/30 vision within 3 months. That is a big improvement both in percentage of success as well as the shortened recovery time.

Rotary donated $500 to the American Legion. Rotary Pres. Terry Engelken
presents a check to American Legion leader (and Rotarian) Bob Kennedy 

"That wasn't so bad. Maybe I'll come back more often"
- Kathy Salazar (Rotarian)


May 23: John Moenck - Jan Gallagher on the New WHS Auditorium project
May 30: Dick Colby - TBA (let him know if you've got a great idea)
June 6: Dennis Purcell - TBA
June 6:  6:00pm Rotary Awards Dinner!