The Gift of Sight For You
Saving Sight is a nonprofit organization that works with your corneal transplant surgeon to provide the gift of sight by facilitating eye donation. Many corneal transplant recipients have questions about the donation process before or after their surgery. Our team is always available to provide support and answers to you!
Where Does Donated Corneal Tissue Come From?
The miracle of sight restoration through corneal transplantation is made possible by the gift given by a deceased donor. When an individual joins the organ and tissue donor registry either at the Department of Motor Vehicles or online, they make the first step by sharing their intent to help others as a donor. Upon their death, that individual may be eligible to be an eye, tissue and/or organ donor. Through donation, one person can save the lives of up to 8 people, restore sight to 2 people, and heal the lives of up to 75 more through tissue donation.
What is An Eye Bank?
Non-profit organizations called eye banks work with donor hospitals, donor families, and your corneal transplant surgeon to facilitate corneal donation. There are 57 regional eye banks in the United States that are accredited by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) and the Food and Drug Administration. Eye banks work to recover, medically evaluate, process and distribute donor eye tissues for both transplantation and sight-saving research. Saving Sight is an EBAA member eye bank and is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.
How Do I Say Thank You?
Receiving the gift of sight from a deceased donor is a life-changing gift, and many corneal transplant recipients want to know how they can say thank you to the donor’s family. After your corneal transplant surgery, you will receive communication from the eye bank detailing how to send a thank you letter to your donor’s family. While the eye bank must ensure privacy between donor families and recipients, it is able to facilitate anonymous correspondence between parties by forwarding letters. You can learn more about Saving Sight’s correspondence program here.
Read More About Correspondence
Casey’s Story – Twenty-One-Year-Old College Student Regains Sight
Donor Mother Shares Her Experience with Donation and Correspondence
Bonnie and Charlotte: Correspondence After Transplantation
After Loss, Mom of Two Finds Hope Through Her Donor Family
Correspondence Makes a Difference for a Donor Family
What Opportunities Exist to Give Back?
Often, corneal transplant recipients want to share their gratitude for the gift of eye donation by giving back as a volunteer. There are a few ways that you can do this. The easiest way is by joining the organ and tissue donor registry at registerme.org and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. You may also be interested in volunteer opportunities with the eye bank, including sharing your story about receiving a transplant, or attending events supporting eye and organ donation awareness held by the eye bank. To learn more about volunteering with your local eye bank, Saving Sight, visit our Get Involved section.
Others find it meaningful to share their story with the eye bank as a corneal transplant recipient. Sharing your testimonial is a good way for others to find comfort in their transplant journey. It also is a powerful way of showing others the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. If you would like to share your story with Saving Sight, you can visit www.saving-sight.org/share-your-story.
To learn more about cornea donation and transplantion, visit www.saving-sight.org/cornea-donation-facts.