All your questions about donation, answered
No. There are strict laws that protect 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. Additionally, it would be an absolutely deplorable act to harm one person, even to help another.
The gift of sight is made anonymously. Specific information about the donor family is not made available to the recipient. If they so choose, recipients can write anonymously to their donor family, in care of the eye bank, to express their thanks. The eye bank will pass along this communication.
The decision to donate with Donate Life Virginia should be shared with family and friends. Next-of-kin cooperation with a medical/social history interview is required before transplantation, so it is helpful if your family and friends know how you feel about donation.
Currently, the need for corneas is so great that U.S. eye banks are frequently unable to meet the domestic U.S. need, let alone help those in need elsewhere in the world. To date, the use of artificial tissue for transplantation has been unsuccessful.
No. Eye, organ, and tissue donations are consistent with the beliefs and attitudes of major religions. For information on a specific religion, contact the eye bank. For more information regarding religious perspectives on donation, please see the following website: https://www.organdonor.gov/donation/religious_views.htm
Eye tissue procurement is performed within hours of death. Families may proceed with funeral arrangements without delay or interruption.
Great care is taken to preserve the donor’s appearance. Funeral arrangements, including viewing if desired, routinely proceed as scheduled. The donor's body is treated with respect at all times.
Donors and eye tissues are carefully evaluated. Corneas determined unsuitable for transplant may be used for medical research or education purposes, if the next-of-kin has consented to this use.
Research on glaucoma, retinal diseases like macular degeneration, eye complications of diabetes, and other sight disorders help advance the discovery of the causes and effects of these conditions. This can then lead to new treatments, and possibly cures. Additionally, the next generation of surgeons may learn surgical techniques on donated tissue. Regardless of whether tissue is used for research and education, there is no substitute for these invaluable gifts.
The donated eye tissue and the donor’s medical and social history are evaluated by the eye bank in accordance with the Eye Bank Association of America’s (EBAA) strict Medical Standards, as well as with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. In addition to these standards for evaluating safety of donors and donor tissues, the EBAA also provides standards for eye banks to use in training personnel to evaluate donor eyes.