Eye banks retrieve and store eyes for cornea transplants and research. The first eye bank was founded in 1944. Currently, in the United States, eye banks provide tissue for about 46,000 cornea transplants each year to treat conditions such as keratoconus and corneal scarring. In some cases, the white of the eye (sclera) is used to surgically repair recipient eyes. Unlike other organs and tissues, there is an adequate supply of corneas for transplants in the United States, and excess tissue is exported internationally, however, there is a shortage of corneal tissue internationally.
In 1944, the first eye bank was founded in New York City by two physicians, Dr. Townley Paton and Dr. John MacLean.