Eye Donation FAQ

FAQs about Eye Donation

The cornea is the outer, transparent clear surface at the front of the eye that covers the Iris, pupil and interior chamber. It is the eye’s  main focusing element.

Cornea, the main focusing part, is the clear front surface of the eye. When it is transparent, the light can enter through it and a person can see. However, if due to some injuries or infection, it is damaged and becomes opaque, then the person cannot see. This condition is known as corneal blindness. 

Corneal blindness can be caused due injuries to the eye, malnutrition, infections, chemical burns, congenital disorders and complications of eye surgery.  It can be birth defect also.

For removing corneal blindness, we have to depend upon human cornea only as cornea cannot be manufactured. Therefore, eye donation is necessary as only donated corneas tissue can be used for  restoration of sight of corneally blind person.

  • Anybody from the age between 2-80 years.
  • Donation can be made irrespective of age, sex, caste or community.
  • People who wear spectacles, have poor eyesight or have undergone cataract surgery.
  • People who have diabetes, hypertension or cardiac, asthma problem.
  • those without communicable diseases can donate eyes.
  • People blind due retinal or optic nerve disease can also donate.

Persons with AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Rabies, Septicaemia, Acute leukaemia (Blood cancer), Tetanus, Cholera, and infectious diseases like Meningitis and Encephalitis cannot donate eyes.

Cornea is to be retrieved within 6 to 8 hours of the death of a person. The consent of the family members is necessary before the retrieval of cornea.

Cornea retrieval is done by a trained technician within 6 to 8 hours of death. It is not necessary to take a person to a hospital for cornea retrieval. It can be done where the body is kept, i.e., either at hospital or home. Entire process of retrieval takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Therefore, funeral arrangements are not delayed.
Entire eye is not removed but only cornea is removed. After removal of cornea, a small transparent cap is placed  at the place from where cornea is removed. Eyes are also stitched. Therefore, there is no disfigurement.

Eye bank is a non-profit making organisation in which professional technician retrieve donor eyes, medically evaluate it, preserve and distribute eye tissues (cornea) to hospitals for transplant, research and education.

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.

After retrieval of cornea, it is kept in a preservative media and it can be transplanted up to a period of 14 days.

No. Only the cornea is transplanted.

Potential donors are carefully screened for medical suitability and high health risk factors. It has to be retrieved within 6 to 8 hours of death. Thereafter it is evaluated in the laboratory. Only after Medical Director, a trained eye (Keratoplasty) surgeons, certifies that it is optical grade and is suitable for transplant. HIV, Hepatitis B and syphilis tests are done before any tissue is released for surgery

No. Eye Donation is a gift of sight to a blind person. All religions and sects place eye donation on very high pedestal. There can be no big gift then giving the sight to a blind persons, as such, eye is consistent with the beliefs and attitudes of major religions.

No. Donor anonymity is strictly preserved by the law.

In addition to fulfilling your beloved one’s wishes, donation can offer comfort to a grieving family. Just knowing that a cornea of our beloved one, is helping in restoration of eyesight of two persons to see this world is a great consolation, something to hold on to in times of sorrow.

The first step is that you decide to become an eye donor. You can take a pledge to donate eyes after death by formally filling the pledge form online and also down load the pledge certificate. The pledge certificate serves as an indication to your family, your intention to be an eye donor. Nowadays one can make a declaration about organ donation including, eye donation while  renewing driving licence. After pledging, you must inform your family members because they their consent in writing will be needed for donating your eyes.