Each year, tens of thousands of people have their sight restored through corneal transplant, a procedure that replaces an impaired cornea with a healthy donor cornea.
When a person passes away, cornea recovery is only conducted after a SightLife Tissue Donor Coordinator (TDC) speaks with the decedent’s family to discuss the donation choice of their loved one. Although these conversations are understandably not easy, they are critical to the donation process occurring no more than twelve hours after death, which helps SightLife and our recovery partners ensure a successful transplant.
If you were recently contacted by a SightLife TDC, we invite you to learn more about the cornea donation process or contact our family service department with questions.
The thoughtful decision to participate in cornea donation creates a lasting legacy of generosity that can help with healing and remembrance.
To explore if registering as an eye donor is right for you, we offer answers to our most frequently asked questions about donation below.
Tens of thousands of people a year have their sight restored through corneal transplants. Hundreds of thousands more are helped through advancements made possible by research. One eye donor can give two people the gift of sight. Corneal transplantation has the highest transplant success rate, exceeding 95%.
Almost anyone can be an eye donor, including individuals with cataracts, poor eyesight (wearing glasses or contacts), or those with a diagnosis of cancer. Age also does not prohibit eye donation.
An eye bank recovers, medically evaluates, and/or distributes eye donations for use in cornea transplantation, research and education. Eye banks are nonprofit organizations.
The cornea is the clear surface at the front of the eye – the window into the eye. It is the main element for focusing. If it becomes cloudy due to disease or injury, vision will be dramatically reduced or completely lost.
A cornea transplant is surgery to replace part of or all of an impaired cornea with healthy donor corneal tissue. The cornea has no blood vessels, so matching a donor to a recipient is not necessary, as in the case of organ donation.
The number one priority in the healthcare setting is to save lives. Donation can only be considered after death, with the cooperation of your family members. Prior to death, transplant physicians are not involved in your medical care.
Most religions support donation and consider donation a great gift. Check with your religious leader for any specific questions.
If a viewing is possible, donation typically does not prevent a viewing.
You can register today to become a donor! You can also sign up automatically by clicking “yes” when you obtain or renew your driver's license. We also recommend discussing your wishes with your family.
Donatable tissues include eyes, skin, bone, heart valves, and tendons. Organs that can be donated include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines. While corneal transplants make up the majority of eye transplant procedures, the sclera (or “white” of the eye) can also be transplanted.