Matushree Manjulaben Dolatrai Desai
Rotary Borivli Eye Bank & Processing Centre   
Donate Eye  : 98216 01919 | 98217 01919 | 98218 01919

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FAQS (Frequently asked Questions):

Do you know...
  • There are approximately 1.2 crore blind people in India.
  • Of these around 20 lakh corneally blind are in need of corneal transplantation.
  • As against an annual requirement of 75,000 to 1,00,000 corneas, only 22,000 corneas are donated in India at present. 


Facts about eye donation:
  • Eyes can be donated only after death.
  • Eyes must be removed within 4 - 6 hours after death.
  • Eyes can be removed by Registered Medical Practitioner only.
  • The eye bank team will remove the eyes from the home of the deceased or from a hospital.
  • A small quantity of blood will be drawn to rule out communicable diseases.
  • The identities of both the donor and the recipient are kept confidential.    


1. What is an eye bank?

An eye bank is the link between the donor and recipient/eye surgeon. It is an organization recognized by government to collect and distribute human eyes to those who require cornea transplants.     

2. What is corneal blindness?

Cornea, the main focussing part of the eye, is the clear front surface of the eye. Like a “window”, it allows light to enter the eye. Vision could be markedly reduced or lost if the cornea becomes “cloudy” or scarred. This condition is known as corneal blindness.  

3. What are the causes of corneal blindness?

Injuries to the eye, birth defects, malnutrition, infections, chemical burns, congenital disorders and complications of eye surgery.

4. Who can donate eyes?
  • Eye donors could be of any age group or sex.
  • People who use spectacles, diabetics, patients with high blood pressure, asthma patients and those without communicable diseases can donate eyes.

Persons with AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Rabies, Septicaemia, Acute leukemia (Blood cancer), Tetanus, Cholera, and infectious diseases like Meningitis and Encephalitis cannot donate eyes.   

5. Do cataracts or the use of spectacles render the corneas unfit?

No. Both these conditions relate to the lens of the eye and not the cornea. 

6. Do religious authorities approve of donating ones eyes?

Yes. All religious faiths support this vital sight restoration program. 

7. Is the whole eye used for transplant?

No. Only the thin transparent layer in front of the iris, called the cornea is used for transplant. 

8.What is cornea?

The cornea is the clear surface at the front of the eye and is the main focusing element. Should the cornea become cloudy from disease, injury, infection or any other cause, vision will be drastically reduced.

9.What is a cornea transplant?

The cornea transplant is the surgical procedure which replaces a disc-shaped segment of an impaired cornea with a similarly shaped piece of a healthy donor cornea. More than 90 of cornea transplant operations successfully restore the recipient's vision.

10.What is an Eye Donation?

Donating eyes after death.

11.How can I become a donor?

A donor card can serve as an indication to your family, your legal representative and hospitals of your intention to be an eye donor.
Prospective donors should indicate their intention on donor cards and driver's licenses. Perhaps the most important single thing you can do is make your next-of-kin aware of your wishes to make sure they are carried out.

12. Is there any use for corneas which are for some reason unfit for transplant?

Corneas that, for technical reasons, are not used for vision restoring corneal transplant, are invaluable for research.

13. Do corneal transplants guarantee sight to all blind people?

No. Transplants only help when the loss of sight is solely due to corneal defect and the rest of the eye’s mechanism is intact.

14. How quickly should eyes be removed after death?

As soon as possible, but eyes can be removed up to 6 hours after death. However, in places where the climate is hot, such as India, a shorter duration, preferably 2-4 hours is advisable.

15. Is it necessary to transport the donor to the hospital after death?

No. Eyebanks have personnel who will come to the donor’s home and remove the eyes. The procedure takes about 30-40 minutes.

16. How long can a cornea be stored?

The Eye-Bank does keep a “bank” of tissue in its laboratory. Fortunately, cornea tissue can be preserved and stored for several days before it must be used for transplant. However, since the demand for ocular tissue is so great most donor tissue is distributed within a day or two after its arrival.

17. Does the human body reject the transplanted donor`s cornea?

Corneas do not have any direct blood supply so the risk of rejection is very low. Rejection, if they occur, can be suppressed by timely medication.

18. What happens to unused tissue?

Tissue not used for transplantation or research is disposed of in an ethical manner.

19. How will my donation be used?

After the eyes are removed, they will be evaluated, processed, sceened and then supplied to the eye surgeon for transplant.

20.Will the donor's family pay or receive any fees?

No. It is illegal to buy and sell human eyes, organs and tissues. Any costs associated with eye procurement are absorbed by the eye bank.

21.Will the recipients be told the identity of the donor?

No. Donor anonymity is strictly preserved by law.

22.How do I contact an Eye Bank?

A special number 1919 (B.S.N.L.) has been allotted to eye banks. Most eye banks in India have been allocated this number. On receiving information regarding a person's death, the eye bank sends its team to collect the eyes. One can also call this number to receive details about the donation procedure.

23.How do I ensure that the eyes donated would not be misused?

Eye banks are covered under 'Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994'. It is a criminal offence to buy or sell organs.
The Indian government issues a certificate of registration to eye banks. In case a complaint is filed against any eye bank, the government can take legal action.

24. How to donate eyes?
For donors:
  1. Discuss your intention of eye donation with your family doctor and relatives.
  2. The eye bank has registration cards.
  3. Fill your details in the registration cards.
  4. Keep one part of the card in your wallet/purse.
  5. Place the second part of the card at home and inform all members of your family about your precious gift to society.
For the donor’s relative:
You have the authority and moral responsibility to donate the eyes of the deceased
  1. Get the vital death certificate quickly.
  2. Contact your nearest eye bank as soon as possible.
  3. Close the eye lids. Cover the closed lids with moist cotton wool.
  4. Switch off the fan (Switch on the air conditioner if possible.)
  5. Raise the donor’s head by 6 inches by placing two pillow under it.

25.What happens after eye donation?
  • The donor’s family receives a certificate of appreciation from the eye bank.
  • The eyes are taken to the eye bank and evaluated by a trained eye bank staff.
  • Tests are carried out and the tissue is sent to the corneal surgeon.
  • The waiting list is referred and the recipient is called for corneal transplant.
  • Corneal transplant is performed.
  • Periodic follow-up of the recipient is done over time to ensure that the graft is successful.


26. Functions of the eye bank?
  • Availability of trained staff round the clock to attend the calls.
  • Evaluate and provide quality corneas to corneal surgeons.
  • Enable corneal research using eyes unsuitable for grafts, to find newer techniques, improve preservation methods and train corneal surgeons.
  • Increase public awareness about eye donation and eye banking.
  • Train doctors in eye removal procedures.
  • Develop and establish a network of eye donation centers.