Corneal Donation - The Gift of Sight
Many people are unaware of corneal donation and the benefits it brings to someone who is blind or partially sighted.
Each year, almost 3,000 people in the UK have their sight restored, their new lease of life made possible by the generosity of corneal donors and their families.
Judith Clarke and Tracy Lawther, our Specialist Corneal Donation Nurses, work together as part of the Newcastle Eye Retrieval Service to raise the profile of corneal donation, letting people know all about corneal donation and how this very special gift can change lives. The RVI is part of a specialist group for corneal transplants, with donor eyes benefiting patients nationally.
Corneas are the clear tissues at the front of the eyes. The removal of corneas is carried out with the same care and respect as any other operation, and great care is taken to preserve the donor’s appearance.
Who can donate corneas?
Corneas can be donated by anyone over the age of three years and can be donated up to 24 hours after death. This means that almost everyone can be a corneal donor.
Many people think they are too old to donate their corneas, saying: “My eyes wouldn’t be any good to anyone."
This is not true! People can give corneas right up to 90 years old. If eyesight is poor it’s usually a problem in another part of the eye, not the cornea.
How can you donate?
It is our policy to allow all families the opportunity to consider donating corneas for transplantation.
You may be asked to consider donation while in hospital, or a specialist nurse may contact you within 24 hours of your loved one’s death to give you the opportunity to decide whether or not you would like to go ahead with this very special gift. We do everything we can to support you with your decision.
You can find more information about adding your name to the Organ Donor Register.
For more information about corneal transplant, please contact our Corneal Transplantation Service at the Royal Victoria Infirmary:
- Mr F C Figueiredo Consultant Ophthalmologist or
- Judith Potts or Tracy Lawther, Specialist Corneal Donation Nurses
Tel: 0191 282 5582 or 282 9288 (Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 5:30pm) or 07789 550 666 during the evening and weekends.