The primary intention behind tissue donation is to assist those in medical need, commonly granting them an opportunity for a healthier or more fulfilling life.
After registering to donate your eyes, your information will be added to a database maintained by the Eye Bank. In the unfortunate event of your passing, medical professionals will check if you are a suitable candidate for eye donation based on factors such as the condition of your eyes...
By Kshalini Nonis
Have you ever considered donating your eyes? Anyone can choose to be an Eye Donor and decide that they want to donate their eyes for transplant, science and medicine. Once a person passes away, medical professionals will determine if the donor’s eye tissue can be used for transplants or research.
We spoke to Janath Saman Matara Arachchi, Senior Manager Sri Lanka International Eye Bank from the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society and W.O.Hemaka De Mel, Senior Manager Human Tissue Bank.
Janath Saman Matara
Arachchi - (Eye Donation)
Q :What are the factors to be considered when donating eyes?
Legal and Ethical Requirements: Ensure that eye donation is legally and ethically permissible.
Medical Suitability: The donor’s eyes should be free from certain medical conditions that could affect the quality of the donated tissue.
Age: Eye donations for transplantations are typically accepted from individuals of age group 18-70 years according to the advice of the Consultants. Donor eyes excluding the mentioned criteria are allocated for academic purposes of medical professionals.
Time of Donation: Timely retrieval of the eyes within four hours after the donor’s death is crucial to ensure the viability of the corneal tissue for transplantation.
Consent: Adequate consent from the donor or their family is essential. Clear communication about the donation process and its impact should be provided.
Health History: Information about the donor’s medical history, previous surgeries, and use of medications should be shared with the eye bank.
Infectious Diseases: Donors with certain infectious diseases might not be suitable for eye donation due to potential transmission risks.
Storage and Transportation: Proper storage and transportation methods are crucial to maintain the quality of the donated tissue until it reaches the Eye Bank.
Cultural and Religious Considerations: Respect the donor’s cultural or religious beliefs regarding organ and tissue donation.
Donation Process: Understand the donation process, including how the eyes will be retrieved, prepared, and eventually transplanted.
Q :What is the procedure of donating eyes?
The procedure for donating eyes involves the following steps:
Contact the Eye Bank: Inform them about your intention to donate the eyes as soon as possible after the passing of the donor.
Medical Assessment: A medical professional from the Eye Bank will assess the donor’s medical history, age, cause of death, and the overall suitability for eye donation. This helps ensure that the donated tissue is safe for transplantation.
Consent: The family or legal next of kin of the deceased must provide consent for eye donation. This can be done by signing a consent form. It’s important to discuss the process and address any concerns the family may have.
Preparation of the Donor: The donor’s body is treated with care and respect throughout the process.
Retrieval of the Eyes: The retrieval of the eyes is a delicate procedure that is performed by trained medical professionals. It involves removing the eye globes, the clear front surface of the eyes and the surrounding tissues.
Preservation: The retrieved eye globes are then preserved in moist chambers in 0 to +4 Centigrade temperature to maintain their quality and viability for transplantation.
Transportation: The preserved corneas are transported to the Eye Bank’s laboratory in a temperature-controlled environment to ensure their quality is maintained.
Processing & Evaluation: Upon arrival at the Eye Bank, the eye globes undergo a thorough evaluation to ensure they meet the necessary quality standards for transplantation. Selected eye globes are separated in to tissues and stored in preservation mediums.
Transplantation: The corneas are matched with suitable recipient age groups and other medical considerations. Requested eye tissues are transported to the hospitals where the transplantation surgery takes place.
Q: What happens after one registers to donate the eyes?
After registering to donate your eyes, your information will be added to a database maintained by the Eye Bank. In the unfortunate event of your passing, medical professionals will check if you are a suitable candidate for eye donation based on factors such as the condition of your eyes and your medical history. If deemed suitable, your eyes can be recovered and used for transplants to help restore vision in individuals with corneal blindness. It’s important to discuss your decision with your family and loved ones, so they are aware of your wishes.
Q: If one is registered with a donor card in case he/she is brain dead will the doctors take the organs?
Yes, if someone is registered as an organ donor and is declared brain dead, doctors will typically follow the person’s wishes and proceed with organ donation, provided that the organs are viable for transplantation and match the needs of potential recipients. Organ donation procedures involve careful medical evaluation and consent processes to ensure that the donation is carried out ethically and in accordance with the donor’s wishes.
Q: Can they donate if they die at home?
Only the eye retrieval can be done at home depending on the situation. For other tissue retrievals the donor should be transported to the tissue bank.
W. O. Hemaka De Mel - (Tissue donation)
Q: What factors must be taken into account when it comes to the donation of tissues?
Informed consent from donors
or their families.
(absence of certain diseases)
Q:What are the pre -requisites for the donation of tissues?
Consent obtained from the next of kin.
Medical history free from genetic disorders, frequent blood transfusions, or conditions that might compromise tissue integrity.
The cause of death should not fall under the Donor Exclusion criteria. Donors with active viral, fungal, or bacterial diseases at the time of death are not suitable. Additionally, donors with a history of cancer or an unknown cause of death are also not considered appropriate for tissue donation.
Q: Is there an age limit?
The donor should be under the age of 70 years, and under 65 years for some tissues such as tendons and ligaments.
Q: What does it mean to donate your tissues?
Donating tissues refers to the generous act where an individual offers tissues from their body, either while alive or after death, for transplantation purposes. Such donations have the potential to heal, enhance the quality of life, or even save the life of a recipient. The primary intention behind tissue donation is to assist those in medical need, commonly granting them an opportunity for a healthier or more fulfilling life.
Q: What tissue can one donate?
Bones, Joints, Tendons and Ligaments, Skin, Heart Valves, Eyes, Placenta
Q: What is the most common type of tissue donation?
Eye donation is among the most common in Sri Lanka.
Q: What is the process of tissue donation?
Determination of donor’s eligibility.
Informed consent to be obtained.
Tissue has to be harvested.
It is then processed, stored, and finally transplanted to a recipient.
Q: Is Tissue and organ donation the same thing?
They are not the same. Organs are more complex and vital for life (like the heart or kidneys), while tissues can be non-vital parts (like bone, tendons, ligaments and eye sclera).