Eye Bank of British Columbia - Frequent Questions - Vancouver Coastal Health

Eye Bank of British Columbia

Frequent Questions

Here are some of The Eye Bank of British Columbia's most frequently asked questions:

  1. Is the whole eye transplanted?
  2. Will a person be able to have an open-casket funeral?
  3. Is the family told who will receive the eyes?
  4. Can all blind people benefit from a corneal transplant?
  5. Can patients who wear glasses and / or who suffer from cataracts / glaucoma donate?
  6. Can cancer patients donate their eyes?

Is the whole eye transplanted?

No, only the cornea (the clear, front part of the eye) is used for corneal transplants. The sclera (white part) is sometimes used for procedures such as glaucoma surgery and lid reconstruction. The rest of the eye can be used for research (if allowed from the consent) to aid in future treatment of eye disease.

Will a person be able to have an open-casket funeral?

Yes – no one will know there has been an eye donation unless you tell them. In very few instances there may be a bit of bruising or swelling, but otherwise there should be no visible signs following donation.

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, recipient and donor families can communicate with each other anonymously via the Eye Bank.

Can all blind people benefit from a corneal transplant?

No, only those whose eyes have a defective cornea.

Can patients who wear glasses and / or who suffer from cataracts / glaucoma donate?

Yes. Even totally blind people with healthy corneas can donate their eyes because there is no relationship between poor eyesight and donor eligibility.

Can cancer patients donate their eyes?

Yes, most cancer patients can donate. Only those who have leukemia, lymphoma, or ocular cancers are ruled out.

If you have any more questions regarding eye donation, please contact us at the Eye Bank of British Columbia at 604.875.4567 or (toll free in BC) 1.800.667.2060.

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