What is an Eye Bank?
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 medical standards.
Who can be an Eye Donor?
Anyone. Poor eyesight and age do not prohibit you from becoming an eye donor. Prospective donors may indicate their intentions on a donor card and their driver’s license. It is important for donors to inform family members of their wishes to help ensure their desires are fulfilled.
Why Should Eyes be Donated?
Donated human eyes are necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight. Through transplantation, research and education, more than 92% of operations performed in Manitoba each year successfully restore vision to blind persons suffering from corneal problems.
How Prevalent is Corneal Transplantation?
Corneal transplantation is the most frequently performed human transplant procedure. There are more corneal transplants than all organ transplants combined. Since 1984 more than 1,400 corneal transplants have been performed in Manitoba, restoring sight to men, women, and children ranging in age from 9 days to 103 years.
Can the Whole eye be Transplanted?
No. Only the cornea can be transplanted. However, the entire eye can be used for valuable research and education.
What Happens if the Corneas are not Suitable for Transplant?
All donors and eyes are carefully evaluated. Should the corneas be determined as unsuitable for transplant, they can be used for research and education.
How Does Research and Education Benefit from eye Donation?
In addition to corneas used for surgical procedures, many eyes are used annually for research and education. Research on glaucoma, retinal disease, eye complications of diabetes and other sight disorders, benefit from donations because many eye problems can not be simulated. These studies advance the knowledge of the causes and effects of specific eye conditions that lead to new treatments and cures. Without donated eyes thousands more still would be blind.
Are There Religious Conflicts to Organ or Tissue Donation?
No. Donation is a gift of life, or sight to others. As such, organ and tissue donation is consistent with belief and attitudes of major religions.