|You can help by:|
|Pledging your eyes and encouraging your family members to donate as well.|
|Being a member of the eye donation centre.|
|Calling the nearest eye bank immediately when a death occurs in the family.|
|Motivating friends and relatives of the deceased to donate eyes.|
|Monetary support to the patient or to the Eye Bank.|
|To donate eyes, these important procedures should be followed by the relatives of the deceased:|
|In the event of death contact the nearest eye bank as quickly as possible.|
|Switch off the fan|
|Raise the head of the deceased slightly by placing a pillow underneath|
|Close the eye lids of the deceased|
|Give the correct address with specific landmarks and telephone number to enable the eye bank team locate the place easily|
|If the death certificate from the physician is available, keep it ready|
|Eye donation can be done only with the written consent of the next of kin in the presence of two witnesses|
|Facts about eye donation procedure:|
|Eyes can be donated only after death|
|Eyes must be removed within 4 - 6 hours after death|
|Eyes can be removed by Registered Medical Practitioner only.|
|The eye bank team will remove the eyes at the home of the deceased or at a hospital|
|Eye removal does not delay the funeral since the entire procedure takes 20-30 minutes only|
|A small quantity of blood will be drawn to rule out communicable diseases|
|Eye retrieval does not cause disfigurement|
|Religions support eye donation|
|The identities of both the donor and the recipient are kept confidential|
|What happens after eye donation?|
|The donors family receives a certificate of appreciation from the eye bank|
|The eyes are taken to the eye bank and evaluated by a trained eye bank staff|
|Tests are carried out and the tissue is sent to the corneal surgeon|
|The waiting list is referred and the recipient is called for corneal transplant|
|Corneal transplant is performed|
|Periodic follow-up of the recipient is done over time to ensure that the graft is successful|
Donating eyes after death
The eye bank is a nonprofit organization and obtains, medically evaluates and distributes eye which are donated by humanitarian minded citizens for use in cornea transplants, scleral reconstruction, research and education. To ensure patient safety the donated eyes and the donor’s medical history are evaluated by the eye bank staff in accordance with the Eye Bank association of America’s (EBAA) strict medical standards.
Anyone. Cataracts, poor eye sight and age do not prohibit you from becoming a donor. Prospective donors should indicate their intention on donor cards and driver’s licenses. Perhaps the most important single thing you can do is make your next of in aware of your wishes to make sure they are carried out.
Donated human eyes and corneal tissue are necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight and are used for transplantation, research and education. Over 90 percent of the more than 41,300 cornea transplant operations performed each year successfully restore vision to persons suffering from corneal blindness.
The cornea is the clear surface at the front of the eye and is the main focusing element. Should the cornea become cloudy from disease, injury, infection or any other cause, vision will be drastically reduced.
The cornea transplant is the surgical procedure which replaces a disc-shaped segment of an impaired cornea with a similarly shaped piece of a healthy donor cornea. More than 90 of cornea transplant operations successfully restore the recipient’s vision.
Cornea transplants are the most frequently performed human transplant procedure. In 1991 there were more cornea transplants than all other organ transplants combined. In the last 30 years, more than 500,000 cornea transplants have been performed, restoring sight to men, women, and children ranging in age from nine day to 103 years.
Cornea transplant is usually performed within 4 days after donation, depending upon the method of cornea preservation.
The surgical removal of the eye tissue is performed soon after the time of death, ensuring the tissue is in the best possible condition for transplant. This also makes sure that the funeral arrangements are not delayed in any way. Because the removal causes no disfiguration, an open casket is still an option for the donor family.
No. Only the cornea and the sclera (white part of the eye) can be transplanted. The whole eye can be used for valuable research into eye diseases and treatments and education.
If potential donors are carefully screened for medical suitability and high risk factors. HIV, Hepatitis B and syphilis tests are run before any tissue is released for surgery. Should any tissue be deemed unsuitable for transplant, the information is then scrutinized for the possibility of use of research. Our primary concern is for the safety of the potential recipients, eye bank staff and researchers.
The addition to corneas used for surgical procedures, more than 35,000 eyes are used annually 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.
No. Donation is a gift of life or sight to others. As such, eye , organ and tissue donations are consistent with the beliefs and attitudes of major religions.
No. Eye tissue is procured within hours of death, so families may proceed as planned with funeral arrangements.
No. Great care is taken to preserve the appearance of the donor. No one will be able to see that anything has been done. Families may even hold a viewing and have an open casket ceremony.
No. It is illegal to buy and sell human eyes, organs and tissues. Any costs associated with eye procurement are absorbed by the eye bank.
No. Donor anonymity is strictly preserved by law.
Absolutely not. Strict laws protect the potential donor. Legal guidelines must be followed before death can be certified. A Physician certifying a patient’s death cannot be in any way involved with eye procurement or with the transplant.
In addition to fulfilling your loved one’s wishes, donation can offer comfort to a grieving family. Just knowing a small part of our loved one is going in life, helping someone see in this world is consolation, something to hold on to in a time of sorrow.
The most important action you can take to ensure you will be a donor is to tell your family and legal representative. Most states now require that families be offered the option of donation when a loved one dies. Families may give consent for donation. It is most helpful if they know how you feel in advance. A donor card can serve as an indication to your family, your legal representative and hospitals of your intention to be an eye donor.