What does it mean to be a registered eye, organ and tissue donor?
Register here to be an eye, organ and tissue donor today!
A registered donor is someone who has pledged, via a confidential database, to donate their eyes, organs, and/ or other body tissues (such as skin, long bones, and heart valves) after death.
Those who register at the time they receive their driver’s licenses may have the words “Organ Donor” printed on their licenses. However, anyone can register as an eye, organ and tissue donor online without having to modify their driver’s license.
When you register, you can choose to exclude any tissues you do not feel comfortable donating. These wishes will always be respected.
The donor registry is checked after death by professionals in the donation community, who do not participate in patient care. Medical treatment is never denied to someone based on their choice to be a donor.
How do donated corneas help people in need?
For some individuals with corneal blindness, the only hope of restored vision is a corneal transplant. The cornea is the thin, transparent surface covering the front of the eye like a window.
A transplant may be necessary when the cornea becomes cloudy or damaged due to disease, injury or infection. In these situations, the cornea must be removed and replaced with healthy donor eye tissue. The procedure is successful in 90% of cases, restoring sight, and in some instances, even providing sight for the first time.
Corneal transplant surgery is the most frequently performed human transplant procedure. Since we opened our doors over 50 years ago, the Florida Lions Eye Bank has restored the beauty of sight to more than 40,000 patients thanks to the selflessness of people like you.
Eye donation is a blessing
for both the donor family
and the recipient. A grieving
family is comforted knowing
this gift has been made
as a living testament
to the donor’s memory.
Why should I register to be an eye donor?
There is no substitute for human eye tissue. Everyone who has ever undergone a corneal transplant has received tissue from another person.
Blood type, sex/ gender, and eye color do not matter. All donated corneas are a “match” for all recipients: unlike other organs, corneas do not have a “tissue type.”
Eye donation does not interfere with funeral arrangements. The recovery procedure is quick and occurs shortly after death. Memorial arrangements are not delayed, and open-casket ceremonies can be held as planned.
All anatomical donation, including eye donation, is made anonymously. The donor’s confidentiality is always protected.
All major religions and cultures approve of eye, organ, and tissue donation.
How do I know if I’m eligible to be an eye donor?
Most people are healthy enough to donate their eyes. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and most cancers are not exclusionary. For the safety of cornea recipients, an extensive medical history review is performed on every donor. A cornea that isn’t safe will not be transplanted.
You are never too young or old to be an eye donor.
Visual acuity is not important when it comes to eye donation. It doesn’t matter if you wear contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Even people with eye disease such as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, and macular degeneration can donate their corneas for transplantation. These eyes are also extremely valuable for research.
Eye tissue is never wasted. Corneas unsuitable for transplantation may be used for research and education. Other parts of the eye, such as the sclera, are used in surgical procedures. Whole eyes are vital in the training of new surgeons and the development of new medications and technologies.
Okay, I think I’m ready to sign up. What do I do?
One of the simplest and most meaningful things you can do to support eye, organ and tissue donation is joining the donor registry. Follow these easy instructions to sign up:
Floridians: visit Donate Life Florida at donatelifeflorida.org and click “Sign Me Up Today” to register as an eye, organ and tissue donor.
Residents of other states: visit Donate Life America at donatelife.net and click “Register Now.”
Most importantly, share your desire to be an eye, organ, and tissue donor with your loved ones. In doing this, you are joining the Florida Lions Eye Bank in our mission to restore the beauty of sight.