About Eye Donation

Corneal blindness results from injury, infection or eye disease. It is correctable with a corneal transplant. Corneal transplantation, other eye surgeries, and eye research can take place only if someone gives the precious gift of sight.

After the eye bank recovers the cornea, it is evaluated, tested, prepared for surgery and distributed to the surgeons for their patients in need. Research on glaucoma, retinal disease, eye complications of diabetes and other sight disorders rely on human eye donations because many eye problems cannot be simulated in a laboratory environment. These studies advance the discovery of the causes and effects of these conditions, therefore leading to new treatments and cures.
Eye diagram

The Cornea

The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer – a thin, clear, dome-shaped piece of tissue that covers the front of the eye and acts as the eye’s primary lens, controlling and focusing the light that enters the eye. It is our window to the world. A cornea that is removed from a donor is about the thickness and consistency of a contact lens.

A surgeon can remove a patient’s damaged cornea and replace is with a clear, healthy cornea that has been donated. More than 50,000 corneal transplants are performed in the United States each year, with a success rate of more than 90%.

Most People Can Be Donors

Most people are eligible to give the gift of sight including individuals who have cancer, diabetes, glaucoma, poor vision or COPD. Specific eligibility will be determined by the eye bank at the time of death. There are very few diseases that would prevent donation.