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Ocular Tissue


What is a Cornea?

The cornea is a thin transparent layer of tissue covering the front of the eye. Its function is to protect the delicate working parts of the eye and direct light rays onto the retina. If the cornea becomes damaged either through injury or disease, it becomes cloudy, eventually leading to blindness.

Corneas & vCJD

The Irish Eye Bank stopped accepting ocular donations in January 2004 due to concerns regarding vCJD. Corneas are considered to have a higher theoretical risk for transmitting vCJD than blood. All corneas and sclera are now imported from RMLEB in Denver, Colorado, a vCJD free zone.

Corneal transplants

Corneal transplants have been carried out for more than 100 years. Each year in Ireland many people suffering blindness from scarred or damaged corneas receive the gift of sight by a simple surgical procedure known as a Corneal Transplant. The damaged cornea is removed and replaced with a clear healthy donor cornea. Such conditions that may lead to a corneal transplant include perforation, chemical burns, corneal ulcers, scars and trauma.


Sclera together with the cornea forms a spherical shell, which makes up the outer wall of the eyeball. They are used in lid reconstruction and enucleations, drainage tubes, Ahmed valves.

National Blood Centre, James's Street, Dublin 8.       Tel: 00 353 1 4322800       Fax: 00 353 1 4322930