December 07, 2005.
PR Newswire Europe.
A nationwide survey marking 100 years since the world's first successful cornea transplant, has revealed an astonishing 84% of UK residents see their eyesight as the most precious of their five senses. Eyesight is valued ahead of hearing, which came second with 5% of votes. Smell, taste and touch all received 2% of the votes.
Further findings from the GfK NOP poll of 1,001 people, designed to celebrate the "gift of sight" provided by a cornea transplant, reveal:
- England winning the Ashes was the favourite sight of 2005 (30%). 2nd was the Live 8 concert (18%), followed by Ellen MacArthur's record breaking voyage (15%). Charles and Camilla's wedding came last with just 5% of votes;
- Sir Richard Branson (21%) is the person whose eyes the public would most like to live through, 2nd is 'their own partners' (16%), with The Queen coming 3rd with 10%;
- Niagara Falls came top as the world's favourite landmark with 23% of votes, 2nd are the Pyramids of Egypt, (19%) and 3rd, the Great Wall of China (16%);
- Seeing a loved one (90%) as the sight they value the most. Watching tv (69%) came 4th, although this was lowest amongst 15-24 year olds (59%) than any other age group.
On 7 December, 1905, Dr Eduard Zirm, the Chief of Medicine of a hospital in Olomouc in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), performed the world's first successful cornea transplant.
This milestone marked the start of 100 years of sight-saving operations and the birth of the transplant age. The method used by Dr Zirm is still the basis for cornea transplantation, which restores sight to more than 2,200 people in the UK every year.
Chris Rudge, Managing Director of UK Transplant said: "Yet again this survey shows just how important sight is for so many of us. Thanks to the generosity of donors and their families, last year 2,375 blind and partially-sighted people were given an opportunity to see again through a cornea transplant.
"However, even more people could be helped if it were not for a shortage of donors. I urge everyone to take the time to consider becoming a donor, you could be making a huge difference to people's lives."
Rosie Winterton, Health Minister said: "Thousands of people's lives have been transformed thanks to the NHS which has been performing this sight-saving transplant for more than 50 years.
"A record number of cornea transplants has been carried out in the first six months of this year and special funding at eight eye retrieval centres is designed to further increase the number, helping even more people to see again through this amazing procedure."
Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by telephoning the Organ Donor Line on Tel: +44-(0)845-60-60-400 or by visiting www.uktransplant.org.uk/cornea.
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