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  • Donating Your Eyes for the Gift of Sight

    Reviewed By J Kevin McKinney, MD
    Published Mar. 06, 2023

    Did you know that your eyes could help bring sight to someone after you die?

    You can choose to donate your eyes to science and medicine. That donation may provide the gift of sight to someone who needs new corneas. Or you may help millions of people who benefit from research on other parts of the eye.

    The cornea is the most commonly used donated eye tissue. Cornea transplants are performed to give vision back to people with corneal injuries or keratoconus.

    The rest of the eye is just as important as the cornea in saving sight. Scientists working to find treatments and cures for eye disorders and diseases rely on donated tissue from the retina, lens and other parts of the eye. Researchers need donated eye tissue to help them develop new treatments and cures for cataracts, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration and many other conditions.

    Anyone Can Choose to Be an Eye Donor

    Anyone can decide they want to donate their eyes for science and medicine. At the time of death, medical professionals will determine if your eye tissue can be used for transplants or research.

    Some people wonder if their religion allows organ, eye and tissue donation. Rest assured that most faiths see it as a gift of charity. Check with your minister, pastor, rabbi, imam or other religious leader if you have questions.

    It’s Easy to Become an Eye Donor

    Tell your family you want to be an eye donor. Eye banks—the agencies that help get eye donations to medical and research institutions—will always ask your family if you told them you wanted to donate your organs.

    In many states, you can sign a card at the driver's license bureau stating that you want to be an organ donor. You may say whether you wish to donate your eyes, organs or other tissues.

    Choosing to be an eye donor is a special gift. You can be proud to know that you will help improve the quality of life for someone with little to no sight.

    Here are links to websites where you can learn more about eye and tissue donation and find help in your area: