What The Hell is The Eye Bank of NY??

If you live or have visited New York City recently and have had the Joy of riding our Splendid Mass Transit system (like I had the pleasure of doing this past monday, and am silently protesting doing, even when this ridiculous weather warms up – I hate it!),

then you’ve probably seen one of these soft but strikingly eerie ads from the Eye Bank of New York.

I’ve seen these ads for about a year now, and the same question kept bugging me;

What the Hell are they talking about, “the gift of sight”?

I’ve been meaning to research this since the first day I saw the advertisement with Jerry Orbach.  I dragged my feet and found myself asking the randomest people the randomest questions, like…‘does this mean they take eyeballs and transplant them?’

All to the reception of shoulder shrugs and temple scratches.

Most people have never paid attention to these ads that seemed to have crept out of nowhere around the City, but even more than that, they cannot begin to fathom how this particular organ donation would go down. It’s funny tho, to watch people surmise what part does what and how it gets utilized.

I myself had 80 million questions spinning in my head up until this very minute.

I wondered, how long after someone is dead can an eye be good? And how are optic nerves reconnected? Aren’t eyeballs directly connected to the brain? And who the Hell needs a whole eyeball replaced anyway?? Are these for functional transplants? Or cosmetic ones for people who have suffered the misfortune of facial disfigurement or loss of a face entirely like that crazy story of the lady being attacked by the chimp (which the thought of alone just sends a wave of sadness over me and makes me cringe).

My favorite question asked thus far is one posed not by me, but by one of the random persons whose attention I brought this to;

‘would you be able to tell if it’s someone else’s eyes if they’ve been transplanted, being that they are the windows to the soul?’

I probably paraphrased that so horribly, but you get the point.

So, after all this…I FINALLY go directly to the site and what do I find out??

Nothing!

The site is apparently jacked up. You can only access the media links and donation windows. I found not one piece of information on this madness! For all of it’s fancy navigation bars and info titles, not one of them take yo anywhere – not even the “About us” tag. Maybe it’s my computer (I am a PC after all…), but I felt some way about this…

Luckily, thanks to the good people of Anwsers.com and the Columbia Encyclopedia,

I was able to quench my thirst for knowledge with this small passage.

Hope those of you who were curious too get something out of it. All 3 of you….

“eye bank, site for the collection, processing, and assignment of donated eyes. A donor’s eyes are removed as soon as possible after death, sealed in a sterile container, and sent to the eye bank. There they are microscopically examined for corneal damage and then shipped to surgeons who have requested them. The intact eyes, if kept at a temperature of 4°C, may be preserved up to 48 hours. Subsequently, the corneas (the clear coverings of the eye) can be removed, preserved in glycerin, and stored at room temperature for six to eight months. Corneal transplants may restore vision to persons whose own corneas have become scarred through illness or injury. If free of bacteria, the vitreous humor, the fluid filling at the back of the eye, can be refrigerated and kept up to six months; it is used in the treatment of detached retina. The first eye bank in the United States, Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, Inc., was founded in New York City in 1945.”

Here’s the complete link to this: http://www.answers.com/topic/eye-bank

And if you are actually interested in becoming a donor, her is the link to that site:

http://www.eyedonation.org/

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