Eye donation is a gift that can enhance the quality of life of those who suffer from corneal blindness. Each year over 1,500 cornea recipients receive the gift of sight thanks to caring donors, talented surgeons and The Alabama Eye Bank.
Many people suffering with a terminal illness have limited options when it comes to organ and tissue donation. However, many hospice patients are able to Give the Gift of Sight by becoming an eye donor. Making the decision to donate has given many terminally ill patients a sense of control during a difficult time. It also brings comfort to the family knowing that their loved one was able to help restore sight to someone suffering in darkness. The Alabama Eye Bank will work with your hospice to streamline the donation process and provide donor families the highest level of compassion and care.
As a hospice professional, here is how you can help:
- Call the eye bank after every death – 1.800.423.7811
- Provide medical information to determine if the patient is a candidate for donation
- Allow AEB Family Service Counselors to speak with the family
- Notify the funeral home that the patient is a donor and that they should not be embalmed until after cornea procurement
Who can donate?
Almost anyone can become an eye donor. Patients who wear corrective lenses or those with macular degeneration, glaucoma, blindness or diabetes may all be potential donors.
Who cannot donate?
Patients diagnosed with viral hepatitis or HIV/AIDS are among those not suitable to become eye donors. The AEB Donor Service Center will make suitability determination.
Did you know…
- One eye donor can potentially restore the sight of 4 people or aid thousands if the tissue is used for research.
- Poor eyesight and prior eye surgery do not prevent you from becoming an eye donor.
- Patients with cancer can be eye donors.
- Eye donation does not delay funeral arrangements or prohibit viewing.
- Families are not charged for or given reimbursement for donations.
- Eye donation is supported by all major religions.
- The cornea, or clear window at the front of the eye, is the part of the eye most often used in transplantation.
- Corneal transplantation is the most frequently performed human transplant procedure.
- 90% of corneal transplant operations are successful.
- The Alabama Eye Bank, your hospice and the local funeral home will work together to make donation easy.