REGIONAL REFERENCE CENTRE FOR LATIUM
SAN GIOVANNI ADDOLORATA HOSPITAL
VIA SAN GIOVANNI IN LATERANO, 155
The Eye Bank of the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital performs, in partnership with the G.B. Bietti Foundation IRCCS, the explanting, banking, and distribution of ocular and related issue.
Eye banks are medical institutions whose tasks are to retrieve, select, store, and distribute safe and suitable ocular tissues for transplant. They are accredited by the relevant Regional Government in compliance with article 4 of Law 301/93. Eye banks operate according to shared guidelines approved by the National Centre for Transplants.
The Rome Eye Bank was accredited by the Latium Region in 1998 as the Regional Reference Centre for Cornea Transplants. It began its activities at the S. Giovanni Addolorata Hospital on 1 November 1999. The Eye Bank is able to fulfil the bulk of the region’s need for ocular tissue for transplants. Currently, the hospitals, universities, and accredited medical institutions who have an agreement with the Eye Bank include 26 in Latium, 4 in Abruzzo, and 3 in Campania. Along with meeting the need for corneal tissue in Latium, the Rome Eye Bank is currently distributing such tissue throughout Italy. Since 2002, the Rome Eye Bank has had a director who coordinates a team comprising 3 biologists, 1 lab technician, 1 coordinator for tissue procurement, 1 nurse, and 1 receptionist. In addition, 2 staff members are in charge of quality management. The Bank is responsible for the retrieval of sclerocornial tissue in the Latium Region with 4 ophthalmologists on-call 24 hours a day; this service is provided in partnership with the G.B. Bietti ICCRS.
From the onset, the Rome Eye Bank has always provided training courses for medical and non-medical staff, with the goal of raising awareness on the donation of ocular tissue for transplants. Over the years, this has made it possible to increase the number of donations and improve the quality of the procurement process.
Currently, the Rome Eye Bank distributes corneal tissue for:
- Penetrating Keratoplasty: PK
- Lamellar Keratoplasty: DALK, ALK
- Endokeratoplasty: DSAEK
- Pre-cut lenticules for endokeroplasty (DSAEK)
- Research activities of the G.B. Bietti Foundation IRCCS
The Eye Bank also stores and distributes complete eye bulbs and scleral fragments for reconstructive surgery.
Along with corneal tissue, the Rome Eye Bank also handles placenta from suitable donors who have undergone elective caesarean sections, from which it prepares, certifies, and distributes fragments of amniotic membrane. In the ophthalmology field, these fragments are used to reconstruct the conjunctiva in ocular burns, persistent epithelial defects, non-infectious trophic corneal ulcer, and in the treatment of pain from corneal pathologies.
The Rome Eye Bank is also involved in numerous scientific research activities, whose main goals are to improve processing techniques for transplant tissue and introduce new technology for quality certification of tissue stored in eye banks.