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Cornea donations in Singapore at record high

There were 236 cornea donations in Singapore last year, breaking the record of 222 donations set the year before, according to the Singapore Eye Bank. 

SINGAPORE: Cornea donations in Singapore reached a record high last year, although it still fell short of the number of transplants performed a year, according to figures released by the Singapore Eye Bank (SEB) on Monday (Apr 17).

A record 236 cornea donations were made in 2016, the largest number in SEB's 26-year history and breaking the previous record of 222 donations set in 2015, the eye bank said in a news release.

The organisation attributed the record number of donations to greater public awareness and Singaporeans "coming together to play a role in restoring the sights of others".

"There is a surge in the number of Singaporeans who recognise that it is a privilege to be able to restore and improve the lives of those who are in need of corneas. The desire to help transcends economic and social divides, making a difference in a stranger’s life," it said.

Singapore is gradually being recognised as one of the world’s leading corneal transplant centres, with its clinical results surpassing many international transplant programmes, SEB said. For example, the country was ranked third in Asia in a recent study for having the highest cornea tissue procurement per capita after Sri Lanka and India, it said.

Launched in 1991 under the Singapore National Eye Centre, SEB is responsible for providing human corneal tissue to patients in need of transplants through its eye donation programmes at the Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Changi General Hospital and the National University Hospital as well as national multi-organ donation programmes.

The Singapore National Eye Centre's website states that the eye bank performs 250 to 300 corneal transplants a year with a success rate of more than 90 per cent.