What are the frequently asked questions about eye donation?

In observance of National Eye Donation fortnight, which began on August 25 and continues till September 08, here are the answers to  most asked questions on eye donation. In India, only 10% of eye transplantation demands are met due to lack in availability of corneas. There are over 1.5 million people in India who suffer from corneal blindness out of which 80% cases related to blindness are preventable


Who can be an eye donor?

Anyone can be a donor, irrespective of age, sex, blood group or religion. People who use lenses or spectacles for short sightedness, long sightedness or even those whose eyes are operated can still donate their eyes. Poor eyesight does not come in way of eye donation.

If I am suffering from diabetes; can i still donate my eyes?

Diabetic patients or those who are suffering from hypertension, asthma can also donate their eyes. Anyone with cataract can also donate their eyes. However, a person with communicable diseases cannot donate his/her eyes.

How can the eyesight be restored?

Persons who have lost their sight because of damage to the cornea can hope to regain it with corneal grafting.

Please specify the conditions where one cannot donate eyes?

Persons who have systemic infections like AIDS, hepatitis B or C, Rabies, Tetanus, Malaria cannot donate their eyes. For complete list of diseases/health conditions which are contraindicative for eye donation, Click here.

How quickly should corneas be removed after death?

The corneas should be removed preferably within an hour, but can be removed up to a maximum of 6-8 hours, of death.

Does eye donation disfigure the face?

No, it is a myth that eye donation disfigures the face. Removal of the cornea does not cause any disfigurement. After the eyeball has been removed, a transparent eye cap is placed in the eye in place of the eyeball.

How can I donate my eyes?

For eye donation, you are required to fill the pledge form and send it to any of the nearest eye bank. Once you are registered as an eye donor you will be provided an Eye Donor Card. To see a specimen pledge form, please click here.

How many people can be benefitted by my eye donation?

At least two people can be benefited. Eyes of a donated person will go to two different corneal blind individuals.

When can I donate my eyes?

Eye donation can be pledged at any age but donation is carried out only after death.

How can eyesight be restored?

Persons who have lost their sight because of damage to the cornea can hope to regain it with corneal grafting.

In case of a person’s death, what are the instructions that people around can follow?

  • Close the eyelids of the donor
  • Switch off the fan; you can switch on the air-conditioner
  • Raise the head of the deceased slightly by placing a pillow underneath
  • Contact the nearest eye bank as quickly as possible

Is it necessary to take donor to the hospital?

No, you just need to contact the eye bank team. The team will go to the donor’s residence or the hospital where the death has occurred and perform the corneal excision.

Is there any other formality to be done for eye donation?

Eye donation can be done only with the written consent of the next of kin in the presence of two witnesses.