Myths and Facts
Myth: Donation will be costly to my family.
Fact: There is no cost to the donor’s family for organ and tissue donation. The Eye Bank pays for all costs related to corneal donation. Hospital expenses incurred before the donation in attempts to save the donor’s life, and funeral expenses remain the responsibility of the donor’s family.
Myth: My religion does not allow organ and tissue donation.
Fact: Most religions throughout the world support organ and tissue donation as a humanitarian act of giving. Transplantation is consistent with the life preserving traditions of these faiths. You are encouraged to discuss donation with your religious or spiritual leader.
Myth: If I donate my eyes it will leave holes in the place where they existed.
Fact: Only the Cornea portion of the eye is removed and hence the appearance of the face of the deceased remains the same.
Myth: I am “blind as a bat” no one wants my eyes.
Fact: Usually poor vision is due to your lens. So you are still able to donate your corneas.
Myth: I can not be a donor because I want an open casket funeral.
Fact: You can still have open casket. There should be no visible signs following eye donation. As long as the body is properly cared for after the time of death. The donor is treated with utmost respect and dignity. The process neither disfigures the body, nor changes the way it looks in a casket. No one, except the family members involved in the decision, will know about the donation.
Myth: No one will want my organs because of my medical history.
Fact: At the time of death, the appropriate medical professionals will review your medical and behavioral history to determine if you are a candidate for donation. With recent advances in transplantation, more people than ever before can donate.
Myth: There is an age cut-off for eye donation.
Fact: People over the age of 80 can not donate their corneas but can donate whole globes.
Myth: Only corneas can be transplanted.
Fact: While cornea transplants make up the majority of eye transplant procedures, the sclera (the white of the eye) can also be transplanted.
Myth: People with cataracts can not be eye donors.
Fact: Cataracts, glaucoma and poor eye sight do not prohibit you from becoming a donor.
Myth: Cornea Transplants are only 50% successful.
Fact: More than 90% of cornea transplant operations successfully restore the recipient’s vision.
Myth: Corneal transplants are the not most frequent transplant procedures.
Fact: Cornea transplants are the most frequently performed human transplant procedure.
Myth: The whole eye can be transplanted.
Fact: Only the cornea and the sclera (the white of the eye) can be transplanted.
Myth: Eye tissue can be used for transplants only.
Fact: In addition to corneas used for surgical procedures, more than 35,000 eyes are used annually for research and education.
Myth: Signing an eye donor card will guarantee that I will be an eye donor.
Fact: The most important action you can take to ensure you will be a donor is to tell your family and legal representative. Most states require your Next of Kin to give consent and medical history for the donation.
Myth: By indicating I am a donor on my Drivers License, the quality of my care will be affected if I am hospitalized.
Fact: Strict laws protect the potential donor. Legal guidelines must be followed before death can be certified. A physician certifying a patient’s death cannot be in any way involved with eye procurement or with the transplant.