A NATIONAL shortage of eyes has prompted the NHS to ask more people to consider donating their corneas.

Last year 15 cornea transplants took place in Bolton, eight in neighbouring Bury and 29 in Manchester city centre.

A reserve of 350 corneas needs to be kept in the Bristol and Manchester eye banks but as of September only 285 are stored.

The banks are 19 per cent below the level required to meet demand.

Michelle Bennett, NHS Blood and Transplant Nurse Practitioner, who works with these Greater Manchester hospitals, said: “Donating sight means there can be light after darkness.

“But too many people are spending World Sight Day unable to see their families due to a national shortage of donors.

“Our eye banks are currently well below the level we’d like to see. We understand that people often view the eyes with more emotion and see them as symbolic than other parts of the body.

"Eye donation does not cause any disfigurement although the whole eye is donated, only the cornea is transplanted into the recipient. The cornea is the thin, clear tissue covering the front of the eye."

Around 3,000 people agree to donate their relative’s corneas each year.

To donate your organs visit organdonation.nhs.uk online.