Healthcare: Eye Care (Ophthalmology & Optometry)

Gratis Tissue




The Lions Eye Bank of Texas (LEBT) annually budgets funds to provide needy patients corneal tissue at reduced or no direct charge. LEBT will provide the tissue to the patient’s surgeon if both the surgeon and surgery center also waive their fees. The patient must be a U.S. citizen and live within the service area (or within the four Lions Districts) of the LEBT. The surgeon shall submit a written request to the LEBT one week before the surgery date and indicate the reason why the patient needs a gratis tissue.




1. The surgeon must submit a request form to the Tissue Allocation Coordinator. The request can be faxed to (713) 798-4645 or mailed to the Lions Eye Bank of Texas, Attention: Judy Herdon, 6565 Fannin, NC205, Houston, TX 77030.

2. Both the corneal surgeon and patient must reside within the four Lions Districts that make up the service area for LEBT-BCM. The patient shall preferably be a U.S. resident; however, the reviewers may consider non-U.S. residents when the surgeon is performing the transplant in Texas.

3. The written request must include the reason why the patient needs gratis tissue (e.g., the patient has no health care insurance, is unemployed due to low visual acuity, etc.). Also, the patient's visual acuity, both with and without a prescription, must be stated, along with the pre-operative and post-operative prognosis.

4. The surgeon must agree, in writing, to waive his/her fees, and the surgery center/hospital also must be willing to do the same. In the event that the patient is seeking funding from another charitable organization, both the surgeon and the surgery center must agree not to charge the patient for any fees that exceed the funding received from a charitable organization.

5. The written request must be submitted one week prior to the scheduled surgery date, and the Eye Bank must review and approve the request prior to the tissue shipment and date of surgery. In some cases, gratis tissue may be approved after surgery if performed in the event of an emergency.

6. Gratis tissues are for PKP or EK pre-cut procedures only and tissue cannot be imported from another Eye Bank.

7. Gratis tissue is limited based on the availability of funds and tissue. Each surgeon will be limited to one request per month, not to exceed two requests per year. The Lions only allow for two requests to be done per quarter.

8. Gratis tissue must be used within 30 days of the request. If the surgery is not completed during the 30 days, the review must be sent back to the gratis tissue review committee.

The LEBT gratis tissue fund was established for needy patients along the Houston Gulf Coast in areas regularly served by the Lions Eye Bank of Texas. (Areas of Service include: Nacogdoches, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Harlingen, and the Rio Grande Valley.)

Revised January 2011