The eye and tissue sector is the largest donation and transplantation sectors in Australia, with a significantly higher number of referrals compared to solid organ referrals.
Eye and tissue banks provide significant benefits within the health sector. Donations of eye and tissue can significantly improve the lives of recipients and in some cases, are life saving.
In Australia, eye and tissue donation and transplantation is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration who are currently in the process of implementating the Regulatory Biologicals Framework which will require eye and tissue banks to demonstrate quality controls and legislative compliance to gain entry on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
Eye and tissue banks in Australia include:
- ACT Bone Bank
- Australian Biotechnologies
- Barwon Bone Bank
- Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria
- Hunter New England Bone Bank
- Lions Eye Donation Service Victoria
- Lions NSW Eye Bank
- Lions Eye Bank Western Australia
- NSW Bone Bank
- PlusLife (Perth Bone and Tissue Bank)
- Queensland Bone and Skin Bank
- Queensland Eye Bank
- Queensland Heart Valve Bank
- Rachel Forest Bone Bank
- Royal Perth Hospital Heart Valve Bank
- South Australian Eye Bank
- South Australia Tissue Bank
- Sydney Heart Valve Bank
The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) in collaboration with eye and tissue bank representatives, completed a review of eye and tissue banking in Australia in 2011 and developed the Report on the options for more effective eye and tissue retrieval, processing and storage (the Report). The Report was endorsed by the Clinical, Technical and Ethical Principal Committee and the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council in September 2011.
The Report provides information on the significant benefits within the health sector as a result of eye and tissue donations that significantly improve or save the lives of recipients. The Report also identified gaps which include the need for national education of eye and tissue bank staff; improved data collection and analysis; the need for national allocation and distribution of eye and tissue products; implementation of unique identifiers to enable timely traceability of products; consistency of national legislation and consistency of practice across banks.
A three staged approach has been adopted to address these gaps. Stage 1 consolidates and builds on work already done in the sector and includes development of nationally agreed data definitions and datasets; identification of a national data registry; development of an education program for eye and tissue bank staff and development of nationally consistent standards for retrieval, processing and storage. Stages 2 and 3 will progress the harmonisation and standardisation of legislation and protocols as well as review the national operational capacity in the eye and tissue sector.
The OTA is now well underway in progressing Stage 1 of the Report.