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Richard G. Lembach, M.D., Eye Banking Education, Research
& Development Fund

Dr Lembach FundDonate to the Dr. Richard Lembach Fund

Donor eyes help glaucoma patients. The Lions Eye Bank has added to the many ways in which donated eyes can help improve the lives of others. We are now preparing a new type of graft that promotes healing after glaucoma filtering surgeries. These grafts provide a medically preferable approach to “patching” the area from which excess fluid is surgically drained.


Common Questions About Donating Your Eyes.

Donating your eyes, or any other body part, should be a decision that is made based on knowledge about the gift.  Following are some common questions about eye donation, and the answers.  If you have other questions, you may contact the Central Ohio Lions Eye Bank for further information.

Q:    How is the decision made to transplant the corneas?

A laboratory exam is necessary to determine whether or not the corneas may be used for transplantation.  If not transplantable, donor eyes are needed for research and education.  The consent for eye donation also includes a necessary blood sample and release of medical history in order to rule out the possibility of transmitting certain infectious diseases to corneal transplant recipients.  Once all medical history and lab data are evaluated, the Lions Eye Bank can determine the best possible use of the donor eyes.

Q:    Who pays for the eye donation?

Costs for recovering donor eyes are paid by the Eye Bank.

Q:    How soon must the eyes be recovered from the donor?

If possible, donated eyes should be recovered within the first four to six hours after the death has occurred, to ensure that the delicate corneal cells remain healthy and functioning.

Q:    Will eye donation delay the funeral?

The removal of eyes should cause no delay in funeral arrangements, as the procedure is not a lengthy one.

Q:    What is the procedure for eye recovery?

The eyes are gently lifted, the space filled, and the lids closed.  It is performed much the same as any other surgical procedure, and the donor's body is treated with respect.  If only the corneas are recovered, then the small clear, front "window" portion of the eye is removed.

Q:    Does the eye donation change the donor's appearance?

The trained technical professionals who perform the recovery procedure make every effort to maintain the natural appearance of the donor.  Usually one can not tell that the eyes have been removed.  In rare cases, medical circumstances may cause some puffiness or discoloration in the eye area.  Preparation of the donor for burial by the funeral is the same as, or similar to, that for a non-donor.  The eye donation should not affect the family's ability to have an open-casket funeral.

Q:    Will the name of the eye donor be released?

All eye donations are confidential.  No one need know about the donation unless the family wishes it known.  Recipient information in transplant cases is also held in confidence.  This is in order to respect the privacy of all individuals involved.

Q:    Will the donor's family be contacted after the eye donation?

The Eye Bank will send a letter to the donor's family, acknowledging the eye donation.  Included with the letter is an Eye Donor Memorial Medallion, commemorating the lasting importance of the Gift of Sight.

Q:    Can the donor's family contact the transplant recipients, and vice versa?

The Eye Bank will facilitate correspondence from one party to the other, through letters that do not individually identify either party.  For further information, please contact the Eye Bank.