The East Anglian Eye Bank
Some families are prepared to give consent for corneal donation in order to restore the sight of visually impaired people. In practice, only a small number of people who die in hospital can be considered eligible as potential corneal donors because of age and other factors. During your time with the bereavement adviser, you may be asked if you would consider making an eye donation. We can assure you that we aim to treat this difficult and sensitive subject with dignity and compassion. A response is not required immediately, and a card with contact information will be offered for your private consideration. For relatives there are important points to consider:
- Whether the deceased has ever raised any objection to donation or transplantation.
- Whether any close relative would raise an objection to donation.
Even when the deceased holds a donor card, it is the next of kin, in consultation with other family members, who gives the final consent. It is important to say that there is no disfigurement, and anyone viewing the deceased would not be able to see that corneal donation had taken place.
It is occasionally possible to donate other tissue e.g. heart valves, bone etc., although this is not as common as corneal donation. Relatives will normally be contacted by nursing staff in the first instance and, with their agreement, be referred to the National Tissue Bank Co-ordinator