In India, we have an estimated 4.6 million people with corneal blindness that is curable through corneal transplantation made possible by eye donation.

Who can be eye donors? 

There is no age-limit for donating the eye. People using spectacles and those diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension can donate their eyes.

Can the next of kin consent to a donation if the deceased person has not signed an eye donation form?

Yes, the relatives of the deceased can decide on donating the eyes of their beloved one.

Whom should we contact to donate eyes?

Eyes need to be removed within six hours after death and so it is important to get in touch with your nearest eye bank at the earliest.

There is a 24 hour dedicated toll-free helpline number 1919, to address queries and direct you to the nearest eye donation centre. Another toll-free number 8010247247 is also available.

What can we do while the eye bank team is on the way?

  • Keep the eyes of the deceased closed and covered with moist cotton.
  • Switch off the ceiling fan, if any, directly over the deceased person
  • If possible, apply antibiotic eye drops periodically in the deceased’s eyes to reduce the chance of any infection.
  • Raise the head of the deceased by about six inches, if possible, to reduce the chances of bleeding at the time of removal of the eyes.
  • Keep death certificate ready, 10 cc blood will be collected from the donor for testing.

Is there a cost to donate?

There is no cost to donate. Transplant agencies pay any costs associated with recovery of organs and tissues from donors. Eyes are neither bought nor sold.

Can cornea from all people who have pledged to donate eyes be used?

Grafts from people who have died due to infections such as rabies, syphilis, infectious hepatitis, septicemia, and AIDS, or death due to unknown caused cannot be used.

What is corneal transplantation?

A Corneal transplant is an operation that replaces the opaque cornea with a clear cornea obtained from a human donor. Will eye donation cause delays in

Will eye donation cause delays in the funeral arrangement?

No, it has to be performed within six hours and leaves no disfigurement that will interfere with common funeral practices.

Is the whole eye of the donor transplanted?

No, only the cornea is transplanted. However, the rest of the eye is used for research and education purposes.

Can a person who is blind due to retinal or optic nerve disease donate his eyes?

Yes, provided the cornea of the donor is clear.

Can a living person donate his eyes?

No, a donation from living persons is not accepted.

Will the recipient be informed of the donor’s details?

No, the gift of sight is made anonymously.

How long will you take to reach?

Our team is trained to leave the hospital within 15 minutes from the time of the call and depending on the distance, will reach within a maximum of one hour.

Inputs from

Dr. Minu Ramakrishnan,
Professor and Head,
Department of Ophthalmology,
K J Somaiya Medical College.

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