Objective: The study was designed to determine the knowledge of eye donation and corneal transplant among final year medical students of The University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC).
Methods: Self-administered structured questionnaires were distributed to the members of the final year (graduating) class of the Medical College of UNEC in June 2007. Responses were obtained to questions bordering on eye donation and corneal transplant.
Results: One hundred and thirty-one students out of 183 eligible students participated in the study (response rate = 71.6%). One hundred and four students (79.4%) were aware of eye donation/corneal transplant. However, 95 students (72.5%) were not aware that the eyes can only be removed from a dead donor. Eighty-four students (64.1%) were not aware that eyes with cataract could be donated. Eighty-seven (66.4%) students were not willing to pledge their eyes for donation.
Conclusion: Medical students lack adequate knowledge about some aspects of eye donation and corneal transplantation. This may be a predictor of the level of awareness among the general public. Concerted innovative education and information dissemination strategies are required at this stage of national development to address the misconceptions surrounding eye donation and corneal transplant. There is a need to target medical students as future motivators, counsellors and eye donors. This should help advance the eye donation rates in Nigeria whenever the plans for the establishment of an eye-bank are finalized.