Most people up to the age of 90 can register to donate their eyes. Short sightedness or a previous cataract operation does not mean that someone cannot become an eye donor. Any donor tissue which might not be suitable for transplant can, be used for medical or research purposes, with consent from the donor.
To be able to donate, you need to register in the Organ Donor Register which can be done online.
People with cancer can donate their corneas. The cornea does not have an active blood supply and therefore is not affected by most cancers. The exceptions are Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma
Your friend or next of kin’s wishes
As donation takes place within 24 hours of a person’s death it’s also important your family already know of your wish to donate as your next of kin will be responsible for granting consent. Talking to them about your decision will help to make the process easier for them.
When talking to your relatives about your wishes you may also want to reassure them that there will be no facial disfigurement. Our eye donation team is highly trained and experienced. When the eye is removed great care is taken to ensure the facial appearance is restored and the eyelids are carefully closed.
If you want to find out more or to talk to someone about donation call the Moorfields Lions Eye bank team on 020 7253 1199.
You can find out more about the whole process from this leaflet Be an eye donor
What we do here at Moorfields
Our eye bank has supported services at Moorfields and other NHS trusts since 1967. It is open 24 hours a day, and is strictly licensed and regulated by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA).
Eye bank staff are specially trained to facilitate the consent, retrieval and storage of donated eyes from the deceased so that tissue can be used for sight-saving surgical procedures within Moorfields and other NHS trusts.
Each year, we perform more than 25% of all corneal transplants in the UK (approximately 1,000 operations) and nearly 250 operations using ocular tissues for glaucoma surgery.
The eye donation process
Our eye donation team is highly trained and experienced. When the eye is removed great care is taken to ensure the facial appearance is restored and the eyelids are carefully closed.
Eye tissues are very delicate and need to be stored under strict laboratory conditions at our eye bank. This must take place within 24 hours of the donor passing away.