Get the facts about cornea donation



We want you to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to donate your corneas, so we've addressed some common misconceptions.

As a cornea donor, you could give the gift of sight to someone in desperate need of a transplant. Make sure you have the facts. 

Donation and your decision

The eye is never transplanted whole

Although you may hear people talking about eye donation, it is only the cornea which is transplanted. The cornea is the clear outer layer of tissue at the front of the eye which lets in light so that you can see.

You can change your mind

You can easily change your mind about cornea donation at anytime. All you need to do is amend your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register

Who can donate their corneas?

Cancer doesn't stop you donating your corneas

People with most types of cancer can still donate their corneas. The corneas do not contain blood vessels, eliminating the risk of transmitting most types of cancer.

Poor eyesight does not stop you donating your corneas

People with poor eyesight can still donate their corneas. Many conditions that affect a person's eyesight do not affect the corneas directly, meaning it can still be possible to donate. 

Funeral plans

Cornea donation does not delay a donor's funeral

Cornea donation does not delay any funeral arrangements, and our specialist nurses always speak to the family to see if there are considerations around someone’s faith, beliefs or culture in respect to funeral plans.

Cornea donation does not affect how a donor looks

After donation, our specialist team will ensure the donor maintains a natural appearance. Many donors go on to have an open casket funeral.

Donation does not need to take place immediately

You can donate your corneas up to 24 hours after you die and donation can take place after death in hospital, in hospices, or in funeral homes. 

Cornea donation changes lives

Angharad standing beside a harbour, smiling.
The family of CBeebies star Angharad Rhodes are extremely thankful that her donor chose to donate their corneas.

Angharad is the star of the CBeebies programme Melody, and plays a partially sighted character who explores music through her imagination.

She was born with cataracts in both eyes and a condition called microphthalmia, which is when the eyes stop developing during pregnancy.

After extensive testing, Angharad was diagnosed with a very rare condition called oculofaciocardiodental syndrome (OFCD) which affected her eyes, facial features, heart and teeth.

Angharad underwent multiple surgeries to try and lower the pressure in her eye. Mum Lynda says: “The doctors decided to insert a mechanical valve in her eye to keep the pressure down. This operation involved using a cornea from a donor."

“By having a cornea transplant, Angharad has kept her light perception and enjoyed filming a third series of Melody. Angharad now hopes to help to inspire children and adults in her role as Melody and as an advocate for the Live Life Give Life charity.”

As a family we are so thankful that someone chose to donate their corneas... Words can’t express how thankful I am.

Angharad's mum

More about organ donation

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