Questions About Eye Donating? Read These Insightful Answers

A side view of an eyeball with a white background. It has a dome shape showing optic nerves and blood vessels.

When most people think of organ donations the heart, kidney, liver and lungs come immediately to mind. Yet donations of eye tissue is just as important. According to the Eye Bank Association of America more than 85,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants take place each year. Out of these transplants, 95% are successful. Plus, the wait time is one of the shortest.

But what is an eye donation in the first place? How does it all work? Can anyone be a donor? These are just a sampling of questions addressed in this blog post. These questions and answers  are provided by the Donate Life America and LifeSource. March is National Eye Donation Awareness Month  and an opportunity to bring attention to this special gift of sight.

1. What is an eye donation?

Even though the phrase “eye donation” is used there is no whole eye transplantation. Often only corneal tissue is recovered  and used.

2. What is The cornea?

It is  the clear dome-like window covering the pupil that lets light pass through to the retina which allows us to see.

3. Why is corneal transplantation so common?

A healthy, clear cornea is needed for good vision. If an injured or damaged cornea gets swollen or scarred vision becomes impaired.

4. Can anyone give an eye donation?

Yes, most people are potential donors because age, eye color and eyesight are not factors for donation. Also, a donor’s blood type does not have to match the recipients blood type. This is good news because everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue.

5. What other ways can eye donations be helpful?

As mentioned before, whole eye donations are not used for transplant. Rather,  they are used for research and education. Advancements have been made in the understanding of the cause and effects of conditions such as glaucoma, retinal disease, eye complications from diabetes and other sight disorders. This research can lead to new treatments and possibly cures.

6. If I wear glasses or have poor eyesight can I still donate?

Sitting on a desk is a pair of glasses resting on an open book with a magnifier nearby.

Yes. People who have poor vision and wear glasses, or have had previous eye diseases or surgery, can still donate. If for some reason  the eye donation is not suitable for transplant it can be used for medical research and education.

7. How does eye donations and funeral arrangements work?

Red and white roses on a casket in the back of a white hearse on a bright sunny day

There should be no complications  with eye donations and making funeral arrangements. It should be only a few hours to coordinate the donation process with the funeral home. Additionally, an eye donation should not prevent having an open casket service.

8. What is an eye bank?

Eye banks are facilities where cornea donation and ocular tissue for transplant, research and education are facilitated. They are nonprofit organizations  and available in all 50 states.

9. How do I donate my eyes?

The best way is to enroll in the registry  for your state. Registered donors receive written confirmation of their enrollment. Plus you can indicate organ and eye donation when you get a driver’s license. It will be displayed  on your driver’s license  card you are a donor. But be sure to alert your family so they are aware of your intentions.

These are some of the most frequently  asked questions about eye donations. But for a deeper dive check out more details on the  eye donating process.

2 thoughts on “Questions About Eye Donating? Read These Insightful Answers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.