Cornea- Definition: The transparent part of the outer coat of the eyeball.
The cornea covers the iris and pupil. Light enters through the cornea.
Hundreds of men, women and children are waiting patiently for a cornea transplant in order to restore their sight. The Eye Bank for Sight Restoration is an organization devoted to restoring sight through eye donations and cornea transplants, as well as providing eye tissue for research into treatment and cures for other eye diseases.
The New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry maintains the names of donors. By signing the back of your automobile driver’s license, giving permission for your organs and tissues to be donated after your death, your name can be placed on the registry. Online registry can also take place at www.eyedonation.org.
A few years ago, I addressed the importance of the gift of sight in the following poem:
An I for an Eye
It has been written
An Eye for an Eye
Why an Eye for an Eye?
When one can give
An I for an Eye
In other words,
The Eye is part of
The living I
And will not function
If the I dies
It is therefore clear
That the Eye is eternal only
As long as the I survives
As long as the I loved the I
I will give an
Eye for an Eye
If you and I are
During the Korean War, I was part of a unit that helped to identify those who had died in battle. I often reflect now on all the wasted organs that could have been used to save so many others who needed transplants in a peaceful nation. I wrote the following poem, which I now I share with you:
Transplant Organs with a War-ranty
Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye
Perfect organs are available
For harvesting and transplanting
Accessible with a war-ranty.
Unfortunately, brains are unavailable.
The organs are fresh and unblemished.
They have been removed
Without pain or refusal
From fallen soldiers and innocent casualties
Of many nations.
There are fresh corneas
To restore lost vision
That enjoyed Technicolor flowers
And the rising and setting of Brother Sun.
Plenty of healthy hearts
To replace broken hearts
Which were filled with forgotten
Memories of days gone by.
Precious kidneys galore
Are salvageable to remove waste
To cleanse bodies and souls
To provide holy water for baptism.
Come one, come all
To the battlefields and bombed out cities.
It’s harvest time for organs
That have a war-ranty not to fail
Even if we humans have failed God
The Creator of us all.
Quoting Thomas Adams, 1612-1653, English Anglican clergyman and historian, “The Eye is the pulse of the soul, as physicians judge the heart by the pulse, so we, by the Eye.”
For more information on cornea transplants, visit The Eye Bank of New York’s website at www.eyedonation.org or call 212/742-9000.