The cornea is the clear part of the eye over the iris and pupil. People may have damaged corneas from eye disease, injury, or birth defects. The white part of the eye is called the sclera, and that can be donated as well. The sclera can be used in operations to rebuild the eye. By registering as a cornea donor, you can also leave behind the gift of sight. Here are some facts about cornea and eye donation:
Who can donate?
- Most people can donate their corneas. Exceptions include people with infections or a few highly communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis.
- Corneal donors do not have to “match” recipients like organ donors do. Donors are universal. Your blood type and eye color do not have to match. Age, eye color and how good your eyesight is, do not matter.
- Unlike organ donation, corneas can be recovered several hours after death and can be stored. A corneal transplant can be performed within 3-5 days after donation
A corneal transplant involves replacing a diseased or scarred cornea with a new one. More than 95% of all corneal transplants are successful in restoring the recipient’s vision.
Did you know? Corneal transplants first performed was in the year 1905.