The cornea is a clear tissue covering the front of the eye. It is the main focusing element of the eye. Vision will be dramatically reduced if the cornea becomes cloudy from disease, injury, or infection.
What is corneal blindness?
Corneal blindness is a disorder that results from the cornea becoming clouded, making a person blind. This condition can result from a variety of diseases, injury or infection.
What is corneal transplant?
This is a surgical procedure which replaces a disc-shaped segment of an impaired cornea with a similarly shaped piece of a healthy donor cornea.
How successful is corneal transplantation?
Over 90% of all corneal transplant operations successfully restore the corneal recipient's vision.
Why should eyes be donated?
There is no substitute for human tissue. The transplantation process depends upon the priceless gift of corneal donation from one human to the next. Donated human eyes and corneal tissue are used for research, education, and transplantation.
Who can be a donor?
Anyone can. Cataracts, poor eyesight, or age do not prevent you from being a donor. Individuals wanting to be donors should inform family members of their wishes.
Will the quality of medical treatment be affected if one is a known donor?
No. Strict laws are in existence which protects the potential donor. Legal guidelines must be followed before death can be certified. The physician certifying a patient's death is not involved with the eye procurement or with the transplant.
Will the recipient be told who donated the corneas?
The gift of sight is made anonymously. Specific information about the donor family is not available to the recipient. The eye bank will convey a recipient's thanks to the donor family.
Are there religious objectives to eye, organ, or tissue donations?
No. Donation is an opportunity to help save a life or restore someone's sight. Eye, organ, and tissue donation are consistent with the beliefs and attitudes of major religions.
Will eye donation affect the appearance of the donor?
No. Great care is taken to preserve the donor's appearance. Funeral arrangements, including a viewing if desired, may proceed as scheduled.
What happens if corneas are not suitable for transplant?
The donor's medical condition and the eyes are carefully evaluated. Corneas determined to be unsuitable for transplant may be used for medical research and teaching.
What is an eye bank?
An eye bank obtains, medically evaluates, and distributes eyes donated by caring individuals for use in corneal transplantation, research, and education. Eye banks are non-profit organizations.
How does the eye bank ensure safe corneal tissue for transplantation?
The donated eyes and the donor's medical history are evaluated by the eye bank in accordance with the Eye Bank Association of America's (EBAA) strict Medical Standards. EBAA provides standards for eye banks to use in training personnel to evaluate donor eyes.
Is there any delay in funeral arrangements?
No. Eye tissue procurement is performed within hours of death. Families may proceed with funeral arrangements without delay or interruption.