Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone can. The great thing about corneal tissue is that everyone is a universal donor. Your blood type does not have to match. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what color your eyes are or how good your eyesight is. Aside from those suffering from infections or a few highly communicable diseases such as HIV or viral hepatitis, most people are suitable donors.

When you apply for your Iowa driver's license at your local Iowa Department of Transportation office, you will be asked if you would like to register as a donor. If you check "yes" on your Iowa driver's license application form, you've given legal consent to donate your eye, organ and tissue after your death. You can also register online by visiting the Iowa Donor Registry website.

We used to hand donation cards (like those at left) out to those who had committed to donating their corneas upon their passing to Iowa Lions Eye Bank.

But now there’s no need to keep that old, deteriorating donation card or turn the house upside down looking for it.

These days, we ask that you register as an organ donor at the DMV when you renew your driver’s license. If your license denotes you as a donor on your license, you’re good! You also can register online by clicking the green Register Now button at the top of our website or register as an organ donor when you get your hunting, fishing or trapping license.

Make sure you tell your loved ones and the funeral home you plan to use that you want to donate your corneas.

Did you know you can be a cornea donor AND still donate your body for study at Des Moines University or UI ? Make sure they know your wishes as well!

Yes. The cornea is the only part of the eye that is used for transplant so many common eye conditions do not prevent an individual from becoming a donor.

For transplant purposes, individuals between the ages of 2 and 80 are eligible to donate. If transplant donation is not possible but the death occurs close to a research facility, donation may be possible for anyone over the age of 2. 

No. Great care and respect is taken by the recovery technician to preserve the donor’s appearance. Families may proceed with funeral arrangements as scheduled, including an open casket viewing.

Research efforts develop new and more effective prevention and treatment options for patients with blinding eye disease, as well as providing a deeper understanding of the progression of these disorders. Donated eye tissue, whether healthy or impaired, is needed to continue research of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, numerous inherited eye diseases, and retinal disorders.

Most religions support donation as an act of neighborly love and charity. Individuals are encouraged to discuss donation with their local clergy.

It's great that you are interested in donating your old eyeglasses so others who need them may see! You can bring your old glasses in good condition (no cases!) to most Walmart vision centers, or contact your local Iowa Lions club to see if they will collect them for you. We can no longer accept old glasses, so please do not drop them off at Iowa Lions Eye Bank.