Eye Donation Who can be eye donors?
Anyone from the age of one. There is no age limit for donating the eye. All one needs to do is bequeath his or her eyes by taking a simple pledge to donate the eyes after death. While taking a pledge during one’s lifetime itself is a noble deed, it requires the support of the relatives or friends to carry out the wishes of eye donation of the deceased. People using spectacles and those diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension can donate their eyes.
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.
Please remember the following after making the call to the Eye Bank:
- Keep the eyes closed & covered with moist cotton
- Switch off the fan directly over the deceased person
- If possible, apply antibiotic eye drops periodically in the deceased’s eyes to avoid infection.
- Raise the head of the deceased by about six inches, if possible.
Who cannot donate their eyes?
- Death due to unknown causes. People who die due to infections such as rabies, syphilis, infectious hepatitis, septicemia, and AIDS cannot donate.
- A Corneal transplant is an operation that replaces the opaque cornea with a clear cornea obtained from a human donor.
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.
Who can be eye donors?
- Skin is needed in major burns and other injuries where it helps to prevent infections, decreases pain and provides mechanical protection and thus helps faster healing and save lives.
- There are more than an estimated 90,000 people currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
Who can donate skin after death?
- Age above 18 years, not having transmissible diseases like hepatitis or HIV, skin cancer or skin diseases.
Are there any complications?
- No inner organs are exposed. No Bleeding from the area of skin donation.
What happens to my donated Skin?
- Donated skin can be used as a temporary covering for severely burned patients awaiting grafting procedures. The donated skin functions as the burned patient’s own skin for a short time, reducing pain and decreasing the risk of infection. In many cases, the availability of donated skin can help save the lives of burned patients.
How is the donated skin recovered?
- Skin is obtained by a surgical procedure. Skin grafts are typically recovered from the back, abdomen and legs and may vary in thickness from .005″ to .035″. In most instances, the procedure takes one to two hours.
Organ donation What is organ donation?
- Organ donation is a noble act which gives us an opportunity to save many lives after our death. The donated organs are transplanted into patients who are suffering from end-stage organ failure. As many patients suffer from end-stage diseases of various organs, organ donation is the only ray of hope for them.
Which organs can be donated?
- The vital organs like heart, liver, two kidneys, pancreas, intestine, lungs, etc. can be donated only if we die a brain death. However, cornea (eyes), skin and other tissues can be donated limited organs like a single kidney (as we have two kidneys) or part of the liver and only to his/her or close relative. The other vital organs can be retrieved only from a brain dead individual.
How is brain death declared?
- Brain death is declared by the Brain Death Committee which involves a team of four doctors recognized by the Govt. and who are not involved in performing the transplant surgery. The team has to perform the brain stem death tests twice at the gap of min. 6 hrs. This death is declared in the hospitals recognized for transplantation or as organ retrieval center and is accepted worldwide. The brain death certificate is then issued to the relatives.
Does the donor have to die only in a hospital?
- Yes. As brain death can occur only in ICU, an organ donor necessarily dies in ICU of the hospital. No vital organs can be retrieved if the death occurs at home. However, eyes and skin can be retrieved up to 6 hrs. after the heart stops beating hence this can be done even if the individual dies at home.
Is it legal?
- Yes. In India, The Human Organ Transplantation Act was passed in 1994 which mainly covers 3 areas. It recognizes brain stem death. It regulates the removal, storage, and transplantation of organs for therapeutic purposes. It prevents commercial dealings in human organs. No human organ can be bought or sold.
Is the donor’s body given back to the relatives?
- Yes. The body is given back to the relatives to perform the last rites after the retrieval of organs.