Frequently Asked Questions about Donation
- Will my decision to be a donor affect my medical care?
- 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 their tissues and organs can be removed.
- What about funeral arrangements?
- 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.
- Does my family have to pay for the cost of the donation?
- There is no cost to the family for donation.
- Is donation against my religion?
- 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.
- Can I still be a donor if I have had cancer?
- Many individuals with a history of cancer may donate their eyes for research. In many cases, the tissue can be used for transplant.
- If I have poor vision does this prevent me from being a donor?
- 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.
- Can I donate if I am diabetic?
- Diabetics may donate their eye tissue. In most cases, the tissue is used for transplants. Research programs benefit 90 percent of all visually impaired individuals.
- Am I too old to donate?
- Anyone may donate their eyes regardless of their age. Transplantable tissue is accepted from age one to 75, with exceptions in some cases.
- If I donate, will the recipients know who my family is?
- 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.