The Florida Lions Eye Bank Foundation

Gratis Cornea Program


The cornea is the clear, transparent front layer of the eye which admits light and begins the refractive process, playing an essential role in the clarity of a person's vision. The cornea is also an integral part of the eye's structure, maintaining the eye's spherical shape and keeping foreign particles from entering the eye.

If the cornea becomes opaque or misshapen due to disease or trauma, light cannot enter the eye properly, and the resulting vision is blurry or distorted. In some patients with corneal disease or injury, a corneal transplant is the only hope for restoring their vision. A corneal transplant is a surgical procedure in which a patient’s diseased or damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy, clear cornea donated by a carefully screened deceased donor. Florida Lions Eye Bank, located at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, recovers, evaluates, processes, and distributes corneal tissue to surgeons throughout Florida to make transplantation possible.


For most patients, corneal transplantation is covered by their insurance. This cost includes the corneal processing fee to cover the cost of the recovery and processing of the corneal tissue by the Florida Lions Eye Bank laboratory. However, patients without insurance and without the means to pay, may find themselves unable to undergo corneal transplantation due to the financial burden associated with this surgery.

Beauty of Sight Foundation supports the Florida Lions Eye Bank’s effort to ensure that no patient will suffer in avoidable blindness due to lack of funding. As such, the Cornea Gratis Program has been created to help subsidize the tissue processing fee cost and allow the Florida Lions Eye Bank to provide tissue completely FREE OF CHARGE to patients without insurance and without the means to pay. All donations to this program help support needy patients in our community who require a corneal transplant.