Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

National Eye Donor Month – March 2023

National Eye Donor Month is observed every year in March. It promotes eye donation awareness and celebrates the lives of eye donors and corneal recipients. This month is also a celebration of corneal surgeons and the families of those who give the gift of sight. Every year, over 48,000 Americans have their sight restored through corneal transplants. This is made possible thanks to the generosity of over 70,000 eye donors every year. To honor the donors’ decision to donate their corneas upon death is the focus of the Eye Bank Association of America’s (E.B.A.A.) annual National Eye Donor Month commemoration.

History of National Eye Donor Month

Since the dawn of time, humans have had the ability to see. However, the practice of eye donation and surgery to help with visual impairment didn’t come until much later. Eduard Konrad Zirm, M.D., accomplished the first successful full-thickness corneal transplant in the early 20th century. This sparked a long period of research and development in the corneal transplantation area, resulting in the creation of novel procedures. During its existence, Zirm’s eye bank served over 47,000 patients.

Donated eyes are collected, prepared, and distributed by eye banks for cornea transplants and research. Eye banks currently offer tissue for over 80,000 cornea transplants in the United States each year to treat various ailments such as keratoconus and corneal scarring. The white of the eye is sometimes used to surgically restore the recipient’s eyes. The retrieval of organs or tissues from a deceased organ donor is referred to as ‘recovery.’

Although ‘harvesting’ and ‘procurement’ have been used in the past, they are now regarded as unsuitable, harsh, and possibly inaccurate terms. When an organ/tissue donor passes away, the donor’s next of kin or a donor registry is contacted to get authorization for donation. The donor’s eyes are then recovered by a recovery technician who is dispatched to the hospital, funeral home, or medical examiner’s office. The entire region of the eye, known as the ‘globe’ can be surgically removed, or simply the cornea can be excised in-situ and stored. In eye banking, several storage media are used such as commercial preparations and organ culture media. The eye tissue is then taken to an eye bank to be examined and prepared.

The Eye Bank Association of America (E.B.A.A.) has established comprehensive medical standards for eye banks and standardized the training and certification of eye bank technicians. National Eye Donor Month celebrates the work of those in the E.B.A.A. and everyone else that makes giving the gift of sight possible.

National Eye Donor Month timeline

1905
The First Eye Transplant

Eduard Konrad Zirm conducts the first successful cornea transplant.

1944
The First Eye Bank

R. Townley Paton establishes the world’s first-ever eye bank.

1961
The E.B.A.A.

The Eye Bank Association of America is founded.

1983
National Eye Donor Month

President Ronald Reagan declares March as National Eye Donor Month.

National Eye Donor Month FAQs

Is the entire eye used for transplantation?

No, the cornea is used for eye transplants. The rest of it goes towards research and development of the organ.

What is a cornea?

The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer; a clear dome-shaped tissue that covers the front of the eye.

What happens if the cornea is damaged?

Diseases and injuries of the cornea cause clouding and scarring which blocks light from entering the eye, diminishing vision.

How to Observe National Eye Donor Month

  1. Learn about eye donation

    Take the time to learn about eye donation and the way it can have an impact on someone’s life. The E.B.A.A. has a resource bank with information and material to learn more.

  2. Share and see stories

    Many people have had life-changing experiences thanks to eye donation and have shared their stories online. Read about these incredible stories and share them to raise awareness.

  3. Give the gift of sight

    If you have done your share of research on the topic and would like to be an eye donor, you can take this time to find out more about it and learn how to register. It’s an honorable gift to give to someone.

5 Interesting Facts About Eyes

  1. They are complex

    The only organ more complex than the eyes is the brain.

  2. They can multitask

    Our eyes focus on 50 different objects every second.

  3. They can be scary

    Ommatophobia is a fear of the eyes.

  4. There’s a lot more than we see

    One-sixth of the eyeball is visible to us.

  5. It can’t do everything

    It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Why National Eye Donor Month is Important

  1. It can change people’s lives

    Eye donation can change someone’s life. It can give them a gift that enables them to live their life to the fullest.

  2. It’s a difficult field

    For everyone involved in the process of eye donation and transplantation — from the patients, surgeons, and families to the researchers and other practitioners — it is not an easy process to be a part of. That deserves recognition.

  3. It encourages donation

    Learning about the impact that an eye donation can have and hearing people’s stories, along with thorough research and knowledge on the topic, can encourage more people to register to donate. Help make an even bigger change in the world today.

National Eye Donor Month dates

YearDateDay
2023March 1Wednesday
2024March 1Friday
2025March 1Saturday
2026March 1Sunday
2027March 1Monday
Hearing Awareness Week
National Aplastic Anemia & MDS Awareness Week
National Ghostwriters Week
National Invest in Veterans Week
National Will Eisner Week
National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week
North Dakota Winter Show
Universal Human Beings Week
Asiatic Fleet Memorial Day
Baba Marta
Baby Sleep Day
Endometriosis Awareness Day
Independence Movement Day
International Ideas Month
International Martisor
International Women of Color Day
Lavity Stoutt's Birthday
Mărțișor
National Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Day
National Dadgum That's Good Day
National Fruit Compote Day
National Horse Protection Day
National Hotel Slipper Day
National March First Day
National Minnesota Day
National Peanut Butter Lover's Day
National Pig Day
National Sage Day
National Texas Stress Day
National Wedding Planning Day
National Welsh Corgi Day
Peace Corps Day
Plan a Solo Vacation Day
Public Risk Management Awareness Day
Refired Not Retired Day
Self-Injury Awareness Day
Share a Smile Day
St. David's Day
Stop Bad Service Day
World Civil Defense Day
World Compliment Day
World Music Therapy Day
World Seagrass Day
Yap Day
Zero Discrimination Day
Academy Awards Month
Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month
Alport Syndrome Awareness Month
American Red Cross Month
Berries and Cherries Month
Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month
Brain Injury Awareness Month
Colic Awareness Month
Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month
Dolphin Awareness Month
Employee Spirit Month
Endometriosis Month
Exotic Winter Fruit & Leeks and Green Onions Month
Expanding Girls' Horizons in Science and Engineering Month
Gardening, Nature and Ecology Books Month
Gender Equality Month
Greek-American Heritage Month
Honor Society Awareness Month
Humorists are Artists Month
International Mirth Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
Listening Awareness Month
Mad for Plaid Month
Malignant Hyperthermia Awareness and Training Month
March Madness
Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal
Mental Retardation Awareness Month
Middle Level Education Month
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
National Athletic Training Month
National Bed Month (U.K.)
National Breast Implant Awareness Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month
National Celery Month
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
National Cheerleading Safety Month
National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
National Clean up Your IRS Act Month
National Color Therapy Month
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Crafting Month
National Credit Education Month
National Crochet Month
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
National Endometriosis Awareness Month
National Essential Tremor Awareness Month
National Ethics Awareness Month
National Eye Donor Month
National Flour Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Kidney Month
National March Into Literacy Month
National Music in Our Schools Month
National Noodle Month
National Nutrition Month
National Optimism Month
National Peanut Month
National Professional Social Worker's Month
National Reading Month
National Sauce Month
National Social Work Month
National Umbrella Month
National Women's History Month
NZ Book Month
Play the Recorder Month
Poison Prevention Awareness Month
Read an E-Book Month
Red Cross Month
Save Your Vision Awareness Month
Sing With Your Child Month
Small Press Month
Spiritual Wellness Month
Supply Management Month
The Great Daffodil Appeal
Trisomy Awareness Month
Vascular Anomalies Awareness Month
Veggie Month
Women’s Month (Philippines)
Workplace Eye Wellness Month
Youth Art Month

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.