Eye Bank of British Columbia - Eye Donation - Vancouver Coastal Health

Eye Bank of British Columbia

Eye Donation

How to Donate?

How to Register as a Donor

If you want to register as an organ donor call the BC Transplant Society at 604.877.2240. You can also register on line. The Web site is www.transplant.bc.ca

Most importantly let your family know what your wishes are with respect to eye/organ donation.

How to Donate?

If the potential donor is suitable by age, cause of death, and medical history, and did not previously give consent, the family may be approached for consent by:

Ensuring legal consent in tissue donation is of the utmost importance. The Human Tissue Gift Act of British Columbia addresses the issue of consent. Under the Human Tissue Gift Act of British Columbia, any death that occurs in any hospital in BC is required to be reported to the Organ Donor Referral line @ 1.877.366.6722. The Eye Bank, in conjunction with the hospital, then determines donor suitability.

We believe that:

  1. By asking, you give the families the chance to take control at a time when everything in their world seems out of control.
  2. Everyone deserves the opportunity to consider giving; to do something noble at their time of sorrow.
  3. Consenting to THE GIFT OF SIGHT can be a positive experience for families; it can provide comfort and may even lessen the sense of finality.
  4. If you don't ask, you are really making the decision for them.

Potential donor families need to know:

The Procedure

If the family decides to donate, an Eye Bank staff member or designee will perform the procedure once the family has said their final goodbye. The entire procedure takes about one hour to complete. The procedure usually requires that the whole eyes be retrieved and replaced with conformer caps, which retain the shape of the eyes. As well, a small amount of blood is taken for testing. Once the procedure is completed, there are usually no obvious signs that the donation took place, and viewing of the donor can take place afterwards.

Once the eyes are back at the lab, they are evaluated. If they can be used for transplants, they are processed and preserved in a storage medium. If the eyes cannot be used for transplantation, they then can be used for research, if allowed for in the consent.

Once the ocular tissues have been preserved, the blood sample obtained is sent off for testing. These tests currently include:

The blood tests must be negative in order for the tissue to be used for transplants.

The donor’s family doctor and/or family is contacted to answer a standard questionnaire about the donor's medical and social history.

Once the questionnaire and blood tests are suitably completed, and the autopsy results obtained (if applicable), the tissue can then be used for transplantation.

If you have any more questions regarding eye donation, please contact the Eye Bank of British Columbia.

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