Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
The Great Plains Lions Eye Bank, Inc. (GPLEB) is a non-profit organization founded and chartered on January 21, 1974 by the Lions Clubs of District 2-T2. The GPLEB has been affiliated with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) since its inception. The GPLEB is the oldest and most successful transplant organization in Lubbock, West Texas, the South Plains and Panhandle region of Texas. The first corneal transplant procedure in Lubbock was performed on November 4, 1974 at St. Mary of the plains Hospital (currently Covenant Children’s Hospital). Since the eye bank’s founding in 1974, GPLEB has provided thousands of corneas, and countless other eye tissues, to recipients for sight-restoring transplant surgeries. The GPLEB encompasses 22 counties surrounding and including Lubbock County. In addition, as of June 2015, the GPLEB is now serving the District 2-T1 region that encompasses 26 counties surrounding the Amarillo area. This brings the total counties served to 48 in our eye bank’s service region. The Lions are dedicated to their sponsorship of our program which has served the great people of West Texas and the South Plains for over 40 years. Being locally owned and driven, we are hometown people taking care of each other, not a satellite office operating in a distant Metropolitan area.
Our mission and goals include:
- To obtain quality tissue for those with corneal blindness in our district, state, nation and world
- To develop educational programs promoting eye donor awareness
- To support healthcare professionals and donor families in the eye donation process
- To promote research for the prevention of blindness worldwide
The “Gift of Sight” is pure and simply a precious human gift; yet, thousands of people stand to lose this gift each year due to a lack of overall donors. As an accredited U.S. Member of the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), we join together in promoting eye donor awareness and education in addressing the critical need for ocular donation. Our recovered tissues are regulated stringently for viability through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)..
We routinely undergo site inspections from the Accreditation Board of the EBAA, usually every three (3) years, and have maintained full accreditation status. Additionally, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed several facility inspections, and the GPLEB has shown to be repeatedly in compliance with FDA rules and regulations. The safety and efficacy of recovered donor tissue is our paramount objective.
About 80,000 corneas are provided for transplant annually in the U.S. The GPLEB averages over 160 corneas placed for transplant per year in the facilities in our service region. Unlike any other transplant procedure, corneal transplant surgery is over 95% successful in restoring sight to those suffering from corneal blindness domestically and internationally. We aim to increase awareness of exceedingly high success rate of surgeries through hospital and community outreach on an annual basis.
Corneas from healthy donors (age of 2 to 74 years) may be utilized for transplant. There is NO man-made substitute for the precious Gift of Sight. Good or poor eyesight, wearing of glasses or not, previous eye surgeries, diabetic retinopathy, or macular degeneration DOES NOT rule out an individual for corneal donation. If donated corneas are not suitable for transplant, they may be acceptable for research and education. After a death occurs, the donated corneas must be removed as soon after death as possible to maintain the quality of the corneal gift.
The “Gift of Sight” is made possible to the ever growing number of people needing transplants in West Texas/South Plains by David McCartney, M.D. (Medical Director), Gregory Oliver, CEBT (Executive Director), and Jimmie Staggs, CEBT (Technical Manager). Dr. McCartney has served as the volunteer Medical Director since 1987 and currently serves as Chairman and Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at TTUHSC. Without the foresight and graciousness of donor families and those who have pledged their corneas to be donated, the process would never evolve.
Without support from people like you, our mission statement would not be possible. For more information about the GPLEB, or how to become a corneal donor, please feel free to contact us at (806)743-2242. We maintain 24/7 availability to the public and medical center facilities in our service area. The GPLEB asks that you discuss your considerations regarding donation with all family members, so they will be informed and able to carry out those wishes at the appropriate time.
Thank you for visiting our website at www.ttuhsc.edu/eye. For further information about the EBAA, you can visit our national website at www.restoresight.org. Should you desire to register as a corneal donor online, please visit the Donate Life Texas website at www.DonateLifeTexas.org
Gregory D. Oliver, BS, CTBS/Jimmie E. Staggs, CEBT
Executive Director/Technical Manager
Great Plains Lions Eye Bank, Inc.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
3601 4th Street, Suite BAB104-HSC
Lubbock, Texas 79430
FAX: (806) 743-1431
To receive a donor card, please email your Name and address to Gregory D. Oliver