1. Find out the facts about eye donation, tissue donation (bones, heart valves, skin) and organ donation (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas)
    a. contact the Eye Bank
        phone: 416-978-7355
        fax: 416-978-1522
        email: eye.bank@utoronto.ca
    b. contact organizations: see the links section
  2. Discuss your decision with your family, closest next of kin or POA - at the time of donation, your closest next of kin will be asked to sign the consent for donation
      consent form picture
  3. Sign and carry a donor card To obtain a donor card, please contact the Eye Bank or other organizations (see the links section)
      donor card picture
  4. Indicate on your Ontario Health Card:
      image of a health card with the donation marked
    http://www.gov.on.ca/health/english/pub/ohip/organdonor.html (English) http://www.gov.on.ca/health/french/pubf/ohipf/organdonorf.html (French)
  5. Thank you for considering eye donations.

Frequently Asked Questions

here are some commonly asked questions about eye donation. Please click on any question of interest to go to the answer on this page, or scroll down the page to read all of the answers.
Is the whole eye transplanted?
What would my priest / minister / rabbi say?
Will we able to have an open casket funeral?
Will the funeral be delayed?
Is there any additional cost for eye donation?
Is the family told who will receive the eyes?
Can all blind people benefit from a corneal transplant?
Can I designate the recipient of my eyes?
I wear glasses. Can I donate my eyes?
I have cancer. Can I donate my eyes?
If I sign a donor card, will the quality of my medical care decrease?
How great is the need for corneas?
Can children's eyes be used by the Eye Bank?
How can I become an eye donor?
What if I change my mind?

 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:
                                                                        ROBI
                                                                        Life Connection of Ohio      [Back to top]

 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 to top]

 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 to top]

 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 to top]

 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 to top]

 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 to top]

 

 

 


The Eye Bank of Canada, Ontario Division
Department of Ophthalmology
University of Toronto
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Phone: (416) 978-7355, Fax: (416) 978-1522, Email: eye.bank@utoronto.ca
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