A: Anyone. Cataracts, poor eyesight and age do not prohibit you from becoming a donor. Prospective donors may indicate their intentions on donor cards and driver's licenses in most states. It is important however, for donors to inform family members of their wishes to help ensure that their desires are fulfilled.
Q: Why should eyes be donated?
A: Donated human eyes are necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight. Through transplantation, research and education, more that 90% of the 40,000+ corneal transplant operations performed each year successfully restore vision to blind people who suffer from corneal problems.
Q: What is the cornea?
A: The cornea is the clear surface at the front of the eye. It is the main focusing element of the eye. Should the cornea become cloudy from disease, injury, or any other cause, vision will be dramatically reduced.
Q: What is a corneal transplant?
A: A corneal 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. Over 90% of all corneal transplant operations are successful.
Q: How prevalent is corneal transplantation?
A: Corneal transplantation is the most frequently performed human transplant procedure. Since 1960, more than 500,000 corneal transplants have been performed, restoring sight to men, women, and children ranging in age from nine days to 103 years old.
Q: How soon after donation must a cornea be transplanted?
A: A corneal transplant is usually performed within 3-7 days after donation, depending on the method of corneal preservation media used, but tissue remains viable up to 14 days for emergency situations.
Q: Can the whole eye be transplanted?
A: No. Only the cornea can be transplanted. However the entire eye is used for valuable research and education.
Q: How great is the need for corneas?
A: Although over 44,000 corneal transplants were performed in America in 2005, the need for corneal tissue is never satisfied. To date, the use of artificial tissue for transplantation has been unsuccessful.
Q: What is an eye bank?
A: An eye bank obtains, medically evaluates and distributes eyes which are donated by humanitarian minded citizens for use in corneal transplantation, research and education. To ensure patient safety, 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 strict medical standards. Eyes not suitable for corneal transplantation are valuable for use in research and education.