There is no conflict between saving a patient’s life and using their eye tissue for transplantation. Very strict laws protect patients who may be candidates for donation of any type. Legal guidelines are in place that must be followed before a patient is declared dead, and before their tissues and organs can be recovered.
There is no apparent disfigurement once the cornea or whole eye is removed. The eyelids remain closed and there is no disfigurement that would interfere with an open-casket funeral service. Eye donation does not interfere with or delay any funeral arrangements the family chooses.
There is no cost to the family for donation.
Eye donation gives sight to others. As a gift to another human being, donation is consistent with all religious beliefs, attitudes and ethical standards that support action to benefit others.
Many individuals with a history of cancer may donate their eyes for research. In many cases, the tissue can be used for transplant.
Poor vision due to previous surgeries or long-term eye diseases does not preclude eye donation. Research programs study the effects of other blinding diseases such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic-related eye disorders. If you wear eyeglasses or corrective lenses due to near or farsightedness, the eye tissue is still used for transplant.
Diabetics may donate their eye tissue. In most cases, the tissue is used for transplants. Whole eyes can also be used for research.
Anyone may donate their eyes regardless of their age. Transplantable tissue is accepted from age one to 75, with exceptions in some cases.
Eye donation is a completely confidential gift. Neither the donor family nor the recipient knows the identity of the other, unless both request to exchange this information.