Eye Donation

Your eye is the lamp of your body.
If your eye is healthy, your
whole body is full of light.”

Luke 11:34

Behold the beauty of Nature
Even past your life

Be held by your community
Even as you lie mixed with the soil

Be the one to look at the skies,
As two - once blind - open their eyes!

In this very year of life, let’s donate eyes! Here is a chance to make tomorrow’s gift today! You can decide to make a donation of your eyes after death by signing a consent form today – right away!

Neither age nor sex is a bar if you wish to (or are about to) donate your eyes. It is possible even for persons with eye disease to donate eyes. Be it a person who wears spectacles or a person who has undergone eye surgery for cataract.

Accident, heart disease, old age, diabetes, hypertension, fever - whatever be the cause of death - it is possible to donate eyes.

The donor’s eyes (eyes of a person who has or whose next of kin has consented to donate them) are removed only upon the death of the donor.

Why Donate Eyes?

The eyes that sweep the beauty of nature are like windows to the brain. If these windows are shut, it results in darkness in a particular part of the brain.

Blindness could occur since birth or could happen any time in life suddenly or over a period of time. There are various reasons for loss of eyesight.

Loss of eyesight could result from either weakness in some part of the eye and old age or because of impairment due to diseases or injury. While most of the eye problems are avoidable or at least curable through medical treatment, it may become impossible to cure certain eye problems such as damage of the Optic Nerve.

The cornea (often mistakenly referred to as the pupil) is the dome-shaped transparent tissue in front of the eye which allows light to enter the eye. The Cornea has three layers of cells that are not nourished by blood, but by tears – something which is unique to the eye!

Procedure for Eye Donation

The cornea is the transparent tissue in front of the eye. When removed from the eye, it looks like a small glass button.

It is essential for the cornea from the donor to be removed within 6 hours of his/her death. Besides,

eye donation cannot be effected without the consent of next of kin/close relatives of the donor. Therefore, in order not to lose time, contact the nearest eye hospital/eye doctor immediately.

In order to keep the eyes clean and free from dust, close the eyelids of the deceased immediately – use a wet cotton swab over the eyes which will help keep the Cornea moist.

Switch off the ceiling fan running directly over the deceased person

If possible, apply antibiotic eye drops periodically in the deceased’s eyes to reduce the chance of any infection.

Raise the head of the deceased by about six inches, if possible, to reduce the chances of bleeding at the time of removal of the eyes

Since Cornea is the outermost transparent layer of the eyes, once removed, it is replaced with an eye cap similar to a contact lens so that the integrity of the eyeball is not disturbed, nor is the face disfigured.

The above procedure takes not more than 10 minutes! It does not lead to any disfigurement of the face.

No theatre facilities or costly instruments are required for conducting the procedure for corneal removal. It can be done even in the home of the deceased.

The eyes collected from the donor’s body are preserved in separate sterile glass vials.

These glass vials are packed with ice into thermos flasks and are immediately taken to the eye bank.

The Gift of Sight

Once the donated eyes are taken to the eye bank, the corneal tissue alone is removed. Various tests are done to check for viability for corneal transplant. The waiting list is referred and the recipient is called for corneal transplant.

The surgical procedure for the transplant is determined based on the condition of the proposed recipient’s cornea. The donated cornea tissue is used either completely or in layers, as per requirement. The primary objective of this surgical procedure is restoration of eyesight.

Who Benefits From Eye Donation

The corneas harvested from the deceased donor are given – one each – to two persons blind by birth

Those blind since birth are given preference over the others in the waiting list for corneal donation.

Eye donation is a ‘gift of light’ by one person to light up the lives of two others.

Who Cannot Donate Eyes

There are a few conditions when the eye from the donor cannot be used. These conditions may pose risks to the eye bank personnel and could be fatal if transmitted. These include:

  • Death of unknown cause
  • Death with a neurological disease
  • Mad-cow disease
  • Sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis
  • Jaundice
  • Rabies, Hepatitis, Tetanus
  • Leukaemia (blood cancers)
  • Snakebite
  • Pre-existing eye diseases like conjunctivitis, other infective conditions and tumours.

You can pledge to donate your eyes by signing on a Pledge Form obtained from the nearest eye bank. You will be given an eye donor card to carry with you. Inform family and friends, lawyers and a family doctor of your desire to donate eyes.

Even if the deceased has already pledged his eyes, his eyes cannot be removed without the consent of the next of kin. Likewise, even if the eyes are not pledged, the next of kin of the deceased may consent to eyes being donated.

To Donate Eyes, Contact...

  • EYE BANK Toll-free Helpline: 1919

Dr. Agarwal Eye Hospital
19, Cathedral Road, Chennai - 600 086
Telephone: 2811 2525, 2811 6233, 2811 2959
Email: [email protected]


10(131), Marshalls Road, Egmore, Chennai
Phone: 2855 5281, 2855 4540, 2855 4345


Sankara Nethralaya

18, College Road, Chennai 600 006
Dedicated Hotline (24 Hours): 2828 1919
Contact Person: A.P. Irungovel, Manager – Medical Sociology
Direct Line – 2822 6694

Email: [email protected]

  • Eye Banks attached to Sankara Nethralaya and Aravind Eye Hospital located across districts.