What is Eye Donation?

When an individual voluntarily decides to donate his / her eyes after passing away, is known as Eye Donation.

Eye donation benefits society and is considered an act of charity.

Parts of the Eye that can be donated

Although the eye in its entirety cannot be donated, parts of it can.

Following are the various parts of the eye that can be donated to those in need - 

1. Cornea is the most common type of eye transplant. However, if the person's cornea is scratched or damaged, then he / she would not be able to donate it.
2. Eye Lashes can be regained through transplantation, if the individual has lost his / her eyelashes due to burns or other injuries. 
3. Eyelid transplants are quite possible. In fact, for innumerable years now, eyelid procedures have been part of plastic surgeries.
4. Amniotic Membrane can be transplanted if a person is suffering from sclera or conjunctiva.

Nearly 2-3 million of India's population suffers from cornea blindness. The cornea is the clear tissue that is located in the eyes. It permits light to pass through and enables our brain to comprehend different colours and shapes. 

Cornea blindness is caused when the cornea gets cloudy or there is an existence of some kind of an obstruction.
As already established, this eye condition can be treated with the help of eye donation.

Eye Donation & Eye Banks

An eye bank facilitates the removal, processing, evaluation and distribution of eyes. It is considered to be a charitable organization and functions for the benefit of society.

Eyes that have been given for donation and have failed to find their match or are unfit for transplants are generally used for clinical research.

Process of Eye Donation

1. Donor Registrations The first step is to get registered at a local eye bank or an NGO that works with eye or organ donation. But in order to do so, you must be a legal adult. Once your eyes have been pledged, you will receive a donor card.
2. Preservation of Donor's Eyes - If the donor passes away in the hospital or at home, the hospital or his / her family members must inform the collection organization in time and all the required steps must be taken by either of the parties concerned to preserve the donor's eyes till the collection agency arrives to collect the organ. 
3. Transportation of the Organs The organs are safely transported to the storage center by the organ securing agency once they receive it. 
4. Relevant Matchs As soon as the organ has been secured by the agency, search for a suitable match will begin.
5. Transplants Once a suitable match has been established, it will transported to the receiver who is undergoing a corrective surgery. And as mentioned earlier, if a match hasn't been found the organ will be set aside for clinical research. 

Criteria for Donating Eyes

Whether a person can or cannot donate their eyes is directly linked to his / her health at the time of their death.

Following are people who can donate their eyes -

- Those who have Astigmatism because this eye condition does not damage the cornea
- Those who have farsightedness, short-sightedness or those who wear eye glasses
- Those who have undergone a surgery or treatment for cataract
- Those with asthma, hypertension or diabetes

Following are the people who cannot donate their eyes -

- Those suffering from AIDS / Hepatitis B / Hepatitis C
- Those with Leukemia
- Those suffering from Communicable Diseases like Cholera / Encephalitis / Rabies / Meningitis
- Those with Tetanus / Septicitus

Takeaway

When you donate your eyes to the blind, you give them the gift of sight. Therefore, eye donation is a social service that must be largely encouraged.