Category: NEWS

NEWS

ANZ Eye Banks re-brand in honour of donors and recipients

The Eye Bank Association of Australia and New Zealand (EBAANZ) have launched their new logo and new look website.

EBAANZ is the peek body for eye banking, eye donation and allocation in Australia and New Zealand. “Australians and New Zealanders who choose to become eye donors at the end of their life are invaluable for the sight restoration of other people awaiting a  transplant, and we wanted our brand to reflect their contribution” says EBAANZ Chair Luke Weinel.

“Without donors, many Australians and New Zealanders would be without access to a sight restoring transplant, and surgeons and researchers would be without donations to support eye care research for those with vision impairment today and in the future.

“Our re-brand reflects the new life the gift of donation offers to recipients, and the vibrant colours intentionally attract attention to ensure the contributions donors make toward eye care are never forgotten.

“The design uses the ‘eye’ to focus on our two nations, and the ‘eye lids’ to connect and symbolise the unique relationship between the donor and recipient,” says Mr Weinel.

Key Information
  1. There are six eye banks across Australia and New Zealand. All six are EBAANZ Members. They are located in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
  2. In 2020, there were: a. 1443 ANZ donors b. 2495 corneal transplants in ANZ.
  3. Cornea transplantation (at the front of the eye) has the highest tissue transplant rate in Australia.
  4. A corneal donation helps people with conditions such as Keratoconus, Bullous Keratopathy, Fuch’s Dystrophy or injury.
  5. A scleral donation (the white of the eye) can be used to help people with ocular tumours or cover a valve implanted into the eye to help people with glaucoma.
  6. Donations can also help train surgeons and support vision restoring research that is examining eye conditions and developing future therapies.
  7. Donation in Australia is voluntary. Donor’s may register to become a donor at any time. A donor’s next-of-kin is asked to confirm if the donor wanted to donate before the donation is accepted.

“Australians and New Zealanders who choose to become eye donors at the end of their life are invaluable for the sight restoration of other people awaiting a transplant, and we wanted our brand to reflect their contribution” says EBAANZ Chair Luke Weinel.

– Luke Weinel, EBAANZ Chair

NEWS

COVID-19 Update

As a result of the increased incidence of COVID-19 in Australia, EBAANZ has upgraded this risk of COVID-19 from low to medium.

Donor Deferrals

EBAANZ recommends that donor deferrals based on travel history be expanded as follows:

  • All donors who have a history of international travel in the past four weeks will be excluded for four weeks.

The following deferrals remain in place:

  • Donors who have had close contact with a known or suspected COVID-19 case will be excluded for four weeks from the time of contact; and
  • Donors who have been infected with COVID-19 will be excluded from donation for three months after recovery from the virus.

These measures are consistent with the measures taken by the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.

Testing
  • EBAANZ advises against eye banks instituting routine testing for COVID-19 for the following reasons:
  • Access to screening kits are currently restricted in Australia and use of these kits should not be diverted for testing of deceased ocular tissue donors;
  •  These screening kits have been developed in-house and are not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA);
  • The results of testing in deceased patients (non-intact circulation) have not been assessed and therefore the results are unreliable; and
  • There are difficulties in both obtaining samples from deceased patients (non-intact circulation), and in providing training in the taking of samples.


In addition, EBAANZ considers that risk of transmission of SARS‐CoV‐2 is relatively unlikely. As such, donor screening and exclusions based on the above criteria are likely to be sufficient.

Therapeutic Goods Administration Notifications

EBAANZ recommends that eye banks continue to update the TGA regarding any changes they make in respect of surveillance, donor exclusions or testing. In addition, eye banks should ensure that they record/document their response to the pandemic.

EBAANZ will continue to monitor the situation and inform members of changes as they occur. For further information please contact EBAANZ via: info@ebaanz.org

NEWS

EBAANZ Ratifies ANZs – first Bioethical Framework for Policy and Practice

PERTH: Yesterday, Members of EBAANZ ratified Australia and New Zealand’s first regional Bioethics Framework concerning Human Tissue for Ocular Application, during their annual meeting held in conjunction with the Corneal Society, at the Perth Convention Centre.

Inspired by the Declaration of Istanbul – which was developed to support ethical practice and policy in human organ transplantation internationally – and encouraged by the World Health Organization, EBAANZ members collaborated with corneal surgeons, policy advisers of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, and obstetric representatives, to develop a framework relevant to the ANZ eye bank community and the wider eye care and donor communities. Dr Dominique Martin, bioethicist at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Health Equity also collaborated on the project.

“The Framework” says EBAANZ Acting-Chair, Dr Graeme Pollock, “focuses on 9 key strategies which are designed to guide care and professional conduct while completing donor consent, tissue preparation and tissue distribution aspects of our cornea, sclera and amnion tissue custodian service.

“The Framework will support our professionals to work together to address tissue needs within our population and provide guidelines to surgeons and eye banks who are approached by colleagues from other countries for humanitarian support.

“Our natural instinct is to always help others but we needed some guidelines for decisions about how and where we should help. It also meant that we were ensuring that the generous gifts of ANZ donors were being respected and that our priority remains the ANZ recipients.

“As a collective Association, we are aware of some of the issues facing other countries – which we are to-date blessed to not experience, so we also wanted to be pro-active and ensure that we continued to up-hold the standards and expectations of ANZ donors and recipients and ensure our services are not hampered by external factors”, says Dr Pollock.

The Framework’s key recommendations include the: activities and wellbeing of the donor, particularly the vulnerable donor; ethical collaboration and interaction with the local, national and global eye care communities and governments; the necessity for policy and training; tissue distribution and prioritization – especially during periods of insufficient supply; prevention of profiteering, trafficking and tampering; and accountability and effective leadership.

The Framework will support our professionals to work together to address tissue needs within our population and provide guidelines to surgeons and eye banks who are approached by colleagues from other countries for humanitarian support.

– Dr Graeme Pollock, EBAANZ Acting-Chair

For further information or to view the Framework, please contact: Heather Machin, EBAANZ Project Officer via: heather.machin@unimelb.edu.au |T: +61 3 9929 8377 | F: +61 3 9929 8711 | M: +61 412 581 881

NEWS

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Eye Tissue Recovery

STATEMENT: 

Due to the recent outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa over the past few months, members of the Eye Bank Association of Australia and New Zealand (EBAANZ) have commenced collaboration and sharing of regional responses on the EVD – in relation to ocular tissue donation – to ensure national preparedness.

As response plans may vary across the country, EBAANZ therefore advise all Eye Bank Managers and Medical Directors to liaise with their local state authority to ascertain local/regional exclusion and deferral criteria for EVD, and implement immediate EVD awareness amongst their donor coordinator and within their  organizations policy.

Key Points about EVD
  • A person can remain infectious for up to 7 weeks as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus
  •  Symptoms include; sudden onset fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and sometimes internal and external bleeding
  • There is a higher concentration of the EVD within the blood, organs and tissues during the immediate death and recovery phase as the body excretes live and infective viruses
  • Laboratory findings include low white blood and platelet count and elevated liver enzymes
Recommendations (Regional variations):

Immediate exclusion from donation

  • All persons known/diagnosed with EVD are excluded from all donation

Deferred Donation

  • Asymptomatic travellers or residents returning from an EVD affected area should be deferred from donation of cells, tissues and organs for 60 days after return, provided they have reported no EVD symptoms (e.g. undiagnosed febrile illness)
  • Anyone with a confirmed EVD exposure (e.g. contact with infected person), cannot donate within 60 days of exposure or if being monitored for exposure, within 60 days of the commencement of the monitoring period
  • While the long term effects of Ebola survivors are unclear, donation coordinators are advised to consider a 12 month deferral period following exposure.

For further information, please contact: Heather Machin, EBAANZ Project Officer via: heather.machin@unimelb.edu.au |T: +61 3 9929 8377 | F: +61 3 9929 8711 | M: +61 412 581 881

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