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PROJECTS -  EYE BANK

1. Can the whole eye be transplanted? 

No, only the cornea (clear, front part of the eye) is used for corneal transplants. The sclera (white part) can sometimes be used for sight-saving surgery. The rest of the eye can be used for research (if you wish) to aid in future treatment of eye disease. 

2. What would my priest / minister / rabbi say? 

All major religions support eye donation! 

3. Is it possible to have an open-casket funeral? 

Yes. No one will know there has been an eye donation unless you tell them. Very rarely there may be a bit of swelling, but otherwise there should be no visible signs following donation.

4. Does it affect the funeral or will be delayed?

No. The eye donation procedure usually takes no more than an hour.

5. Is there any additional cost for eye donation?

Never. Only the standard funeral costs you would have incurred anyways. 

6. Is the family told who will receive the eyes?

No. A letter of appreciation is sent to the family. The actual identities of the donor and recipients are kept confidential under present laws. However, recipients and donor families can communicate with each other anonymously through the Eye Bank. Contact the Eye Bank for more details.

7. Can all blind people benefit from a corneal transplant?

No, only those whose eyes have a defective cornea (i.e. opaque, scarred or misshapen cornea). 

8. Can I designate the recipient of my eyes?

No. There are patients waiting for their sight-saving surgeries. The Eye Bank distributes the corneas in a fair and equitable manner. 

9. I wear glasses. Can I donate my eyes?

Yes. Even totally blind people can donate their eyes because there is no relationship between poor eyesight and eye donorship. 

10, I have cancer. Can I donate my eyes?

Yes. Individuals with cancer can still donate their eyes, except for those with cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma or cancers / tumours of the eye itself. 

11. If I sign a donor card, will the quality of my medical care decrease?

No. Regardless of your decision about organ donation, health care providers who look after you only have your health interests at hand. 

12. How great is the need for corneas?

In Ontario last year, over 1200 individuals had their sight restored by corneal transplants made possible by eye donations. There is presently a critical shortage - 59 surgeries have had to be cancelled due to lack of available tissue 

13. Can children's eyes be used by the Eye Bank?

Yes. If the parents wish to donate the eyes of their children, it can be done. The child, when coming of age, must repledge his or her eyes. 

14. What if I change my mind? 

Discard the donor card and let your family know of your decision.

15. How can I become an eye donor?

You can obtain a donor card from the Eye Bank (C/o IMA), or Rotary Cochin Central Office at P. B No, Kochi-682016. Simply sign it and carry it with you. It is possible to make a donation even without making a written pledge by infoming your family of your intentions. They can then make the donation on your behalf.

 

It is very important to discuss your wishes with your family because a donation cannot proceed until your next-of-kin confirm your intentions. 

Please Note: Recording your donation in a Will is not enough. By the time a Will is read, it is too late to use a cornea for transplant.

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