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Cornea Transplant Program to Expand

Lions Clubs International Foundation

Awards Money to Help Relocate Local Eye Bank

More advanced eye surgery techniques and tools will soon be available at the Lions Eye Bank for Long Island at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), thanks to a grant from the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF). The grant matches the $75,000 that has already been raised by local Lions Clubs, providing a total of $150,000 towards the purchase of new equipment for high-tech cornea transplant surgeries.

Over the past year, NSUH has markedly helped to revitalize the Lions Eye Bank by increasing its funding. The Lions Clubs of Brooklyn and Queens (District 20-K1), Nassau (District 20-K2) and Suffolk (20-S) have also helped by raising the money to purchase much needed equipment for the Lions Eye Bank when it relocates to a larger space at 1554 Northern Boulevard in Manhasset. The new Eye Bank will provide more advanced eye treatments to the community, raise awareness and reach more potential eye and tissue donors from the region. Construction is expected to begin in early 2010.

The Eye Bank recovers corneas either locally or imports them from around the country based on need, and provides the tissues to local hospitals for transplantation. Its extensive network of over 100 Lions volunteers assist in bringing corneas to the facility for evaluation and delivering the suitable corneas to Long Island hospitals.

“With our new facility we’ll better serve the community because we can offer more advanced surgical techniques and better access to corneas and tissues,” said Kenneth Manger, director of the Lions Eye Bank for Long Island at NSUH. He said the grant will be integral to growing the program, which currently brings in only about 30 percent of the tissues it uses from local donors. “This will put us on the map and help us raise more local awareness of the need for eye, tissue and organ donation.”

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, best known for their mission of fighting blindness by conducting vision screenings, equipping hospitals and clinics, distributing medicine and raising awareness of eye disease.

For more information, visit the website at: www.lionsclubs.org or www.lebli.org.