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Medical Examiners/Coroners

The Alabama Eye Bank appreciates the support of the Department of Forensic Science, the Medical Examiner’s Office and local Coroners. With your assistance, the Alabama Eye Bank is able to provide the gift of sight to over 2,000 people each year in Alabama and throughout the world. Making the decision to donate has brought comfort to many families by knowing their loved one was able to restore sight for someone suffering in darkness.


As you may know, hospitals are required by CMS to refer all deaths to their local organ procurement organization and eye bank.


Yet, each year nearly half of all deaths in Alabama occur outside of the hospital and go unreported. We need you to become partners with the Alabama Eye Bank by allowing us to assess potential donors through reporting these deaths. With a successful partnership, we could potentially double the available transplant tissue. By partnering to establish effective and timely communication of the donation process, we can ensure that the needs of the medicolegal investigator, grieving donor families and cornea blind can all be accomplished.

//here’s how you can help
  • First steps

    To ensure that corneal integrity is maintained, please provide the following care to the eye donor after the family's departure:

    • Ensure that the eyes are closed - may use paper tape if needed.

    • Elevate head by tilting head of bed or using towel roll or pillow.

    • Cool the eyes with light ice-packs of wet ice.

  • Who can donate

    Almost anyone can become an eye donor. Patients who wear corrective lenses or those with macular degeneration, glaucoma, blindness or diabetes may all be potential donors. Those who have recently had LASIK surgery may also be a potential donor.
    Even Hellen Keller herself, could have been a cornea donor.

  • Who can not donate

    Patients diagnosed with viral hepatitis or HIV/AIDS, MRSA/VRE infections, certain diagnosed mental disorders like Parkinson's, Dementia or Creutzfeldt–Jakob (mad-cow) disease. These are starting guidelines of those not suitable to become eye donors, however the AEB Donor Service Center will make suitability determination at the time of call.

//eye donation 411
  • One eye donor can potentially restore the sight of 4 people or aid thousands if the tissue is used for research.
  • Poor eyesight and prior eye surgery do not prevent you from becoming an eye donor.
  • Patients with cancer can be eye donors.
  • Eye donation does not delay funeral arrangements or prohibit viewing.
  • Families are not charged for or given reimbursement for donations.
  • Eye donation is supported by all major religions.
  • The cornea, or clear window at the front of the eye, is the part of the eye most often used in transplantation.
  • Corneal transplantation is the most performed human transplant procedure.
  • 90% of corneal transplant operations are successful.
  • The Alabama Eye Bank, your hospice and the local funeral home will work together to make donation easy.