An increase in donations of corneas means the territory will no longer need to import them for transplants, the Hong Kong Eye Bank says. The number of local corneas received by the bank rose from 107 to 211 last year, and from January to August this year the bank has already received 179 corneas from local people who died after having agreed to donate. 'We are very satisfied with the increase, and if the trend continues, we hope to phase out imports from Sri Lanka by mid-1997,' said Jessie Ng Yuk-yee, a senior co-ordinator of the bank. Medical director of the bank Dr Patrick Ho Chi-ping said increasing donations were because scarce land was forcing people to give up their traditional beliefs in whole-body burial. He said Hong Kong people were becoming more open-minded towards organ donation after years of education and promotion. One beneficiary of local donations is welfare worker Carol Lau Ka-po, 40, who is gearing up to restart her social work studies after years of being unable to read textbooks. Ms Lau, who works in a children's centre of the Boys' and Girls' Association of Hong Kong, suffered from corneal degeneration since she graduated from secondary school more than 20 years ago. 'I told my doctor I could only accept corneas from local donors as I was told by others that the quality of the imported ones was poor,' she said. Ms Lau only had to wait for a few months to get a local cornea for her left eye in 1994 and underwent a similar transplant on her right eye last year. The eye bank has three staff stationed at hospitals persuading families of deceased people to donate corneas and organising promotion activities.