Chinese have a tradition to keep the body whole after death. As a result, cornea donations across the Strait have never been abundant. For many years, there have been more than 20 "eye banks" in mainland China. They are in a very awkward situation, like a library that has no books. In other words, there have been "no corneas in the banks," for a long time. Only less than two percent of the patients on the waiting list can get a cornea. In Taiwan, there are more than 10 times the number of patients on the waiting list for cornea donors.
There are about 20 eye banks in Mainland China. They are often in a "zero-inventory" status. The first eye bank in Dongguan (of Guangdong Province) was established at the Dongguan Guangming Ophthalmology Hospital in 2003. It was not until September 2007 that it had its first donor. Ironically, at that time, the donor’s family also strongly opposed the donation. Until last year, Dongguan had accumulated only two cases in which donations were made, and both of them involved donations to family members.
In Guangdong’s largest eye bank, the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Zhongshan Medical University, corneas are also in short supply. The hospital has an annual average of 4-5,000 people waiting for a cornea, but in 2014 it only accepted a little more than 800 cornea donations. 2013 was even worse; there were a little more than 100 cases. To get a cornea, patients have to queue up and wait at least two years.
In the two eye banks in Wuhan (the Capital of Hubei Province), the situation is more severe. Each year more than 4,000 people wait for corneas, but Tongji Hospital and the Air Eye Hospital had 10 years and 5 years of zero inventory, respectively.
Source: China Times, February 27, 2016