| Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Give the Gift of Sight. Become an Eye Donor.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

eye donorThere are many reasons to become an eye donor. The most obvious is so that eyesight may be restored for someone who has lost or is losing their vision to eye disease, injury or birth defects. According to Organdonors.gov, since 1961, more than 1,000,000 people ranging in age from nine days to 100+ years have had their sight restored due to donors.Another important reason to donate is because donor tissue can be used for medical education and research purposes.

Eye Transplants

When a donation is used for transplant purposes, it’s usually the eye’s cornea that gets transplanted. The cornea is a dime-sized, clear surface that covers the front of the eye. During a transplant, the diseased or injured cornea gets replaced with a new donor cornea. Over 95 percent of all corneal transplant operations successfully restore the corneal recipient’s vision.2 In addition to the cornea, the white part of the eye can also be used to help surgically rebuild a damaged eye.

Medical Education and Research

Even if the eye is not suitable for transplant purposes, there is still a great need for eye tissue for medical education and research purposes. According to EyeDonation.org, eye tissue not suitable for transplant may be distributed to research teams for work in glaucoma, cataracts, retinal diseases such as macular degeneration and various other eye related studies. This can then lead to new treatments and cures.3

Who Can Donate?

Aside from people with highly communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis, most everyone is a suitable donor. It doesn’t matter if your blood type doesn’t match the recipient’s blood type or how old you are. It doesn’t even matter if you have poor eyesight. Most everyone is a universal donor.

If you aren’t a donor already but you want to become one, visit OrganDonor.gov. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, select your state from the pull down menu and sign up.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Organ Donation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Organdonors.gov

Eye donor FAQs: Eye Bank Association of America, RestoreSight.org

Medicare Made Clear: MedicareMadeClear.com

1, 2 Organ Donation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Organdonors.gov, January 6, 2015

3 Research Procedures: Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, Inc., EyeDonation.org, January 6, 2015

Y0066_150108_121544 Accepted