The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank holds safety as a primary concern. Many steps are taken to ensure the safest possible transplant. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates eye banks in the United States, including the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank. Current standards of practice are determined by the medical standards of the Eye Bank Association of America. Two medical directors, both corneal fellowship-trained physicians, approve day-to-day policies.
Once consent to donate eye tissue is made, either by the next-of-kin or through the donor's decision recorded in the Colorado or Wyoming Donor Registry (Driver's License designation), the eye bank takes several steps to ensure safety of the tissue for transplantation.
First, the eye bank's Recovery Technicians perform a thorough review of the donor's medical records. This step screens out potentially harmful diseases.
A coordinator prepares for a medical and social history interview with a donor's next-of-kin as part of the donor screening process.
Second, the eye bank's Recovery Coordinators conduct an extensive interview with the donor's next-of-kin regarding the donor's past medical and social history. This interview is designed to uncover past medical history and social behaviors that may be absent from the hospital medical record. The interview questionnaire is designed and mandated by the FDA.
Third, the eye bank performs several tests on the donor's blood. These include tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and HTLV I/II. All of these tests must be negative for a transplant to occur.
Lastly, the eye bank's coordinators also evaluate suitability of donated corneas using two powerful microscopes. These microscopes allow the coordinator to evaluate the general condition of the donor cornea as well as count the number of endothelial cells on the cornea. These cells are vital to a successful transplant. Every cornea must meet strict standards in order to be offered to a surgeon for transplantation. Ultimately, the decision to accept and transplant any eye tissue rests with the transplanting surgeon.