Eye Donation            Cornea            Corneal Transplantation            Eye bank

1.What is eye donation?
Donating one's eyes after death is eye donation.

2. What is a cornea and how do cornea transplants restore sight?
The cornea is a clear dime-sized tissue that covers the front of the eye. If the cornea becomes clouded through disease or injury, vision is impaired and sometimes lost entirely.
The only substitute for a human cornea is another human cornea donated at death by someone who thus leaves behind a living legacy.

3. What is Corneal Transplantation?
A corneal transplant is the surgical procedure, which replaces a disc-shaped segment of a defective cornea with a similarly shaped piece of a healthy donor cornea. The new cornea is placed into the area where the damaged tissue was removed and then stitched into place.

3. Why should eyes be donated?
Donated human eyes are necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight. More than 92% of Manitobans receiving a corneal transplant each year had their vision successfully restored.

4. Is the whole eye used for transplantation?
No. Only the cornea of the eye is used for transplantation.

5. When are the eyes removed?
Donor eyes must be removed within six to twelve hours after death.

6. Who can donate eyes?
Almost everyone can donate his or her eyes. Donors can be from ages 1 through 75 for transplantation. After age 75, the eyes may still be donated for medical education and research. People who have poor vision and wear glasses, or have had previous eye diseases or surgery can still donate, since these conditions may not affect the cornea. Eyes donated to the Eye Bank that are not medically suitable for transplant may be used for medical research and education.

7. Who will benefit from eye donation?
Individuals who are blind from corneal diseases will benefit from eye donation.

8. Will my family have to pay for donation?
Donation is regarded as a gift and there are no charges to the donor family.

9. Will there be a delay in funeral arrangements because of eye donation?
No. The procedure of eye donation takes only 20 - 30mts.

10. Will eye donation affect the appearance of the donor?
No. There will be no disfigurement to the face.

11. Are there any religious objections for donating eyes?
No religion is against eye donation.

12. Can the eyes of the individuals having diabetes, hypertension be donated?
Yes. People with systemic diseases can also donate eyes.

13. Is there a need to match blood for cornea transplantation?
No, matching is not necessary. However, 5ml of blood will be collected from the donor to test for diseases like AIDS, Jaundice and sexually transmitted diseases.

14. How soon after donation must a cornea be transplanted?
A cornea transplant is usually performed within three to seven days after donation, depending upon the method of cornea preservation.

15. Am I too old/young to be an eye donor?
No. There is generally a use for eyes of any age.

16. How do research and education benefit from eye donation?
In addition to corneas used for surgical procedures, the corneas that are not suitable for transplantation are used for research and education. Research into glaucoma, retinal disease, complications of diabetes and other sight disorders benefit from donations because many eye problems cannot be simulated-only human eyes can be used. These studies advance the discovery of the causes and effects of specific eye conditions and lead to new treatments and cures.

17. What happens to unused tissue?
Tissue not used for transplantation or research is disposed of in an ethical manner.

18. Who cannot donate eyes?
The donor eyes are screened for the following diseases:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Certain cancers, although most cancer patients may donate eyes and corneas.
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use
  • Active infections (for example, sepsis)

Potential donors with these diseases or conditions may not become tissue donors. Physicians and trained procurement professionals investigate other diseases or conditions that may affect donation on a case-by-case basis to ensure that no disease is present that might harm a tissue recipient.

19. What kind of research is done with eye donations?
Research into diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and diseases of the retina are advanced through eye donation.

20. Should eye donation be included in a will?
No. Tissue must be used long before the will can be probated. However, the time of making a will is a good time to discuss eye, tissue and organ donation with close family members.

21. Will the natural eye color change after surgery?
No. The iris (the colored part of the eye) isn't affected by a corneal transplant.

22. What are the preparations the recipients do for Surgery?

  • Make arrangements for transportation to and from the hospital.
  • Request sick leave from work.
  • Find a helper for household chores.
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery.
23. What are the warning signs of rejection?
  • Increased redness, especially around the new cornea
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Decrease in vision
  • Persistent eye pain

Call your ophthalmologist immediately if you notice any of the above, especially if any one of the symptoms has lasted for more than 6 hours.

Eye Bank

1. What is an Eye bank?
An eye bank collects eyeballs, process corneas and distributes them for corneal transplantation.

2. What is the purpose of an eye bank?
Its main purpose is to act as a clearing-house between the person donating eyes after death and the person needing a corneal transplant.

3. Do I need to register myself for eye donation at the Eye Bank?
Pledging/registration can be done at the nearest eye bank. However, eyes can also be donated even if the donor is not registered.

4. Will the recipient know who donated tissues?
To ensure patient confidentiality, tissue banks will not reveal a donor's identity, without specific consent from the legal next of kin. Tissue banks must contact the donor's legal next of kin for consent to disclose a donor's identity to a recipient. Recipients may wish to learn who donated the tissue they received. Tissue banks are able to disclose the gender and age of donors without consent from the next of kin.

Facts about Eye donation

  • Anyone, regardless of age, may donate the cornea or the entire eye

  • The cornea is not affected by most cancers and the majority are safe for transplant

  • Those who have undergone previous eye surgeries may contribute their eye tissue to benefit long-term research studying eye diseases like glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic eye disorders, and macular degeneration

  • Most patients of diabetes may donate their eye tissue for research, and in some cases, for transplantation

  • All eye tissue is used for one of the following purposes:

    • Corneal transplant to replace a clouded cornea
    • The sclera, or white of the eye, is used in eye, ear, and mouth tissue surgeries
    • Long-term research in eye diseases benefits nearly 90 percent of all blind people

  • The majority of religions encourage organ, tissue and eye donation to save or improve the quality of another's life

  • Family members of donors do not receive pay and there are no fees for donating their loved one's organs, tissue or eyes

  • There are no visible signs of eye removal and eye donation does not interfere with funeral arrangements

  • A person may declare his/her desire to donate by indicating that decision on the driver's license or signing a donor card. Either of these methods provides sufficient legal authority to recover organs and tissues. If a desire to donate has not been indicated by one of these methods, then a family member may provide verbal/written consent to confirm the donation.