DONATING YOUR EYES
About The Singapore Eye Bank
The Singapore Eye Bank was established in 1991. It is a non-profit, independent organisation. The aim of the SEB is to procure, process and distribute tissue of the highest quality for transplantation in Singapore. In Singapore today, there is a growing list of patients who are blind and waiting for a corneal graft operation to restore their sight.
Questions & Answers about Eye Donation
What is eye donation?
It’s giving your corneas upon death to restore the sight of someone who is blinded by corneal disease.
What is the cornea?
The cornea is the clear transparent window at the front of the eye that allows light to enter the eye. The cornea can be damaged by injury or infection.
Why should I consider eye donation?
Because for many, the only hope of sight is offered by someone who donates his or her cornea.
Will removal of the corneas disfigure the face?
Absolutely not! The body is treated with respect. Only the cornea and not the whole eye is removed. The cornea is only about the size and shape of a contact lens. It would still be possible to have an open-casket funeral as corneal removal makes no noticeable changes to the face.
Also, corneal removal is performed shortly after death and should not delay funeral arrangements.
Can I donate my eye if I have a vision problem?
Yes! Your eyes may be useful even if you have poor vision. You are never too young or too old to be an eye donor. People with short-sightedness, long-sightedness, or astigmatism can also donate their eyes. Even people with eye diseases other than corneal disease can donate their eyes.
How can I become an eye donor?
If you are 18 or older, you may wish to fill out an Organ Donor Card. You can also contact the Singapore Eye Bank hotline at (65) 6322 8340. An Organ Donor Card will be issued to you by the Ministry of Health. Carry the card with you at all times. It will instantly alert medical personnel to your wishes.
However, it can be even simpler to be an eye donor. Just let your family members know about your wish to donate your eyes. Singapore law allows your family to donate on your behalf, so that they can fulfil your final wish to give someone the precious gift of sight (see below)
Can my family members donate my corneas for me?
Yes. This is how most corneas are donated in Singapore. It is very important to let your family know your desire to donate your corneas so that they feel confident this is what you want and can fulfil your wish. In Singapore, immediate family members or next of kin are allowed to give consent for eye donation under The Medical (Therapy, Research and Education) Act, 1972.
Why is it necessary to discuss my decision with family?
A completed donor card is a legal document, but may easily be misplaced. It is more important that you make your family aware about your wish to donate your corneas beforehand. After the passing away of a loved one, immediate family members are often faced with the decision as to whether they should consider eye donation. If the loved one has previously communicated the wish to donate his or her corneas, then the decision is much easier for the family. Family members who are grieving, will find comfort in knowing that something positive has come from a loved one's death.
Discuss any concerns that they may have
For example, let your family know that becoming a cornea donor:
- should not interfere with funeral arrangements or disfigure the body
- will not interfere with attempts to save your life since corneas can be donated only after death
- also means that you will still receive the same high-quality medical care that a non-donor receives since the donation process only occurs after death
Encourage others to become donors
But, remember, becoming a donor is a personal decision.
For more information, please call the Singapore Eye Bank at:
Tel: (65) 6322 8340
Please visit the following relevant links:
I Want an Eye Examination / an Appointment
Common Eye Conditions & Procedures
SNEC Smartphone Apps for Patients