N.C. Eye Bank Awards $50,000 for Wake Forest Baptist Cornea Program

July 17, 2013

The North Carolina Eye Bank (NCEB) has awarded $50,000 to the Wake Forest Eye Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to support the Eye Center’s cornea fellowship and cornea research.

The Wake Forest Eye Center is one of North Carolina’s busiest multispecialty ophthalmology clinics, with more than 120,000 patient visits annually, and is nationally recognized for its cornea transplant program.

The North Carolina Eye Bank (NCEB), a leader in supplying tissue for transplantation to residents of North Carolina and the world since its founding in 1951, provides more than 3,000 corneas for transplant each year.

More than 45,000 cornea allographs were transplanted in the U.S. in 2011, with a success rate of 95 percent. According to Dean Vavra, executive director of the NCEB, “There is a critical need, both in North Carolina and nationally, for fellowship-trained cornea specialists. The NCEB believes that it is important for specialists to have access to and familiarity with the eye bank system, and many of today’s specialists are not exposed to eye banking through their fellowship training.”

Craig M. Greven, M.D., F.A.C.S., chair of the department of ophthalmology at Wake Forest Baptist, said, “Corneas are among the most transplanted tissues in the United States. It is crucial that those in training today become familiar with eye banking. We are most grateful for this gift in support of our research and for our partnership with the North Carolina Eye Bank.”

Of the NCEB’s gift, $20,000 will go directly to support the fellowship and $30,000 will be made available to the Eye Center for conducting research into cornea disease.

Media Relations

Eric Whittington: ewhittin@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-5318

Chad Campbell: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587