Is the whole eye transplanted?
No, only the cornea (clear, front part of
the eye) is used for corneal transplants. The sclera (white part)
can sometimes be used for sight-saving surgery. The rest of the
eye can be used for research (if you wish) to aid in future treatment
of eye disease. [Back to top]
What would my priest / minister / rabbi say?
All major religions support eye donation. For more information,
visit these sites:
Connection of Ohio [Back
Will we be able to have an open-casket funeral?
Yes. No one will know there has been an eye donation unless you
tell them. Very rarely there may be a bit of swelling, but otherwise
there should be no visible signs following donation. [Back
Will the funeral be delayed?
No. The eye donation procedure usually takes no more than an hour.
[Back to top]
Is there any additional cost for eye donation?
Never. Only the standard funeral costs you would have incurred
anyways. [Back to top]
Is the family told who will
receive the eyes?
No. A letter of appreciation is sent to the family. The actual
identities of the donor and recipients are kept confidential under
present laws. However, recipients and donor families can communicate
with each other anonymously through the Eye Bank. Contact the Eye
Bank for more details. [Back
Can all blind people benefit
from a corneal transplant?
No, only those whose eyes have a defective cornea (i.e. opaque,
scarred or misshapen cornea). [Back
Can I designate the recipient
of my eyes?
No. There are patients waiting for their sight-saving surgeries.
The Eye Bank distributes the corneas in a fair and equitable manner.
[Back to top]
I wear glasses. Can I donate my eyes?
Yes. Even totally blind people can donate their eyes because there
is no relationship between poor eyesight and eye donorship. [Back
I have cancer. Can I donate my eyes?
Yes. Individuals with cancer can still donate their eyes, except
for those with cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma or cancers / tumours
of the eye itself. [Back to top]
If I sign a donor card, will the quality
of my medical care decrease?
No. Regardless of your decision about organ donation, health care
providers who look after you only have your health interests at
hand. [Back to top]
How great is the need for corneas?
In Ontario last year, over 1200 individuals had their sight
restored by corneal transplants made possible by eye donations.
There is presently a critical shortage - 59 surgeries have had to
be cancelled due to lack of available tissue. [Back to top]
Can children's eyes be used by the Eye Bank?
Yes. If the parents wish to donate the eyes of their children,
it can be done. The child, when coming of age, must repledge his
or her eyes. [Back to top]
How can I become an eye donor?
You can obtain a donor card from any CNIB office, the Eye
Bank, or click here to download
and print one. Simply sign it and carry it with you. Or fill in
the donor information on your driver's license or OHIP card. It
is possible to make a donation even without making a written pledge
by informing your family of your intentions. They can then make
the donation on your behalf.
- It is very important to discuss your wishes
with your family because a donation cannot proceed until your
next-of-kin confirm your intentions.
- Please Note: Recording your donation in
a Will is not enough. By the time a Will is read, it is
too late to use a cornea for transplant. [Back to top]
What if I change my mind?
Discard the donor card and let your family know of your decision.[Back