Frequently Asked Questions
- Can the whole eye be used for transplantation?
- What is the cornea?
- How can an unhealthy cornea affect vision?
- What is a cornea transplant?
- Why might someone need a cornea transplant?
- What is an Eye Bank?
- Who can become an eye donor?
- Will the donor family pay or recieve any fees?
- Is there any delay in funeral arrangements?
- Will the quality of medical treatment be affected if one is known to be a donor?
- Should eye donation be included in a will?
- Are there religious conflicts to eye, organ, or tissue donation?
- Will eye donation affect the appearance of the donor?
- What do I need to do to become an eye, organ, or tissue donor?
- After donation, how soon must a cornea be transplanted?
- How is the Eye Bank related to Lions Clubs?
- Where can I donate old glasses?
Q: Can the whole eye be used for transplantation?
A: No. Only the cornea can be transplanted. Sclera, the white part of the eye, is occasionally used. However, the entire eye can be used for education and research. - top
Q: What is the cornea?
A: The cornea is the clear front of the eye that covers the colored iris and the round pupil. Light is focused while passing through the cornea so we can see. To stay clear the cornea must be healthy. - top
Q: How can an unhealthy cornea affect vision?
A: If the cornea is damaged it may become swollen or scarred. In either case, its smoothness and clarity may be lost. The scars, swelling or irregular shape cause the cornea to scatter or distort light, resulting in glare or blurred vision. - top
Q: What is a cornea transplant?
A: Procedure which replaces a disc-shaped segment of an impaired cornea with a similarly shaped piece of a healthy donor cornea. - top
Q: Why might someone need a cornea transplant?
A: A transplant may be necessary because of corneal failure due to heredity such as Fuch's dystrophy or Keratoconus, a steep curving of the cornea. It might also be required due to scarring after injury or infection (especially herpes), or after surgical procedures, such as cataract surgery or if a first corneal transplant is rejected. - top
Q: What is an Eye Bank?
A: An Eye Bank obtains, medically evaluates and distributes tissue which is donated by humanitarian minded citizens, for the use in corneal transplantation, research and education. To ensure patient safety, the donated tissue and the donor's medical history are evaluated by the Eye Bank in accordance with Eye Bank Association of America's (EBAA) strict Medical Standards. - top
Q: Who can become an eye donor?
A: Anyone. Cataracts, poor eye sight or age do not prohibit you from becoming a donor. Prospective donors should indicate their intention on a donor card and or driver's license. It is important for individuals wanting to be donors to inform their family members about their decision to ensure that their desires are fulfilled. - top
Q: Will the donor family pay or recieve any fees?
A: No. It is illegal to buy or sell human tissue or organs. Any costs associated with eye procurement or organ procurement are absorbed by the procurement agencies. - top
Q: Is there any delay in funeral arrangements?
A: No. Eye tissue procurement is performed within hours after death, so families may proceed as planned with funeral arrangements. - top
Q: Will the quality of medical treatment be affected if one is known to be a donor?
A: No. Strict laws are in existence which protect the potential donor. Legal guidelines must be followed before death can be certified. The physician certifying a patient's death is not involved with the procurement or the transplant. - top
Q: Should eye donation be included in a will?
A: No. Tissue must be used long before the will can be probated. However, the time of making a will is a good time to discuss eye, tissue and organ donation with close family members. - top
Q: Are there religious conflicts to eye, organ, or tissue donation?
A: No. Donation is a gift of life, or sight, to others. As such, eye, organ, and tissue donation are consistent with beliefs and attitudes of major religions. - top
Q: Will eye donation affect the appearance of the donor?
A: Great care is taken to preserve the appearance of the donor. In most cases no one will be able to see that anything has been done. Families may proceed with funeral arrangements, including a viewing if so desired. - top
Q: What do I need to do to become an eye, organ, or tissue donor?
A: Record your wish with the Utah Donor Registry by either visiting www.yesutah.org or calling (866) YES-UTAH. The Utah Donor Registry is a completely private and secure database that ensures your wishes regarding donation will be followed if anything ever happens to you. As with any other important medical decision it is important to share your decision with your next of kin. - top
Q: After donation, how soon must a cornea be transplanted?
A: A cornea is usually transplanted 3 to 10 days after donation. - top
Q: How is the Eye Bank related to Lions Clubs?
A: Since 1917, Lions have served to make a difference in the lives of people everywhere and are dedicated to eradicating preventable and reversible forms of blindness.
Utah Lions were the driving force behind the creation of the Utah Lions Eye Bank in 1972. They are also significant annual contributors to the Eye Bank. - top
Q: Where can I donate old glasses?
A: Lions in Utah pick-up used glasses from the Utah Lions Eye Bank and Lens Crafters and Knighton Optical stores throughout Utah. - top