Cornea Donation

Cornea donation is different from all of the other donation categories as it only covers one item, the cornea.

Anyone can register to be a cornea donor, even if you wear glasses or have poor vision. The number of Canadians who will need a cornea transplant is only expected to increase as we are facing a rise in the aging population.

While vision loss is not fatal, it has an impact on our work, income, self-esteem, independence, and activities of daily living. It can also lead to serious health problems, such as clinical depression, and for seniors, falls and early admission to nursing homes.

“The donor gave me a gift that nobody else could give me. The donor changed my life.”

– Carleigh, cornea transplant recipient

What is the cornea

The cornea is a thin, clear tissue covering the surface of the front of the eye.

It is a very important contributor to our vision, accounting for 2/3 of the eye’s optical power. A normal, healthy cornea holds its round shape and helps us see. 

Depending on the type and severity of corneal damage vision could be blurry or completely lost.

Waiting time for urgent patients is estimated to vary from less than one month to more than six months depending on province.

Register as an Organ and/or Tissue Donor

We encourage all Islanders to register their decision to become an organ and tissue donor and share their decisions with their family and loved ones. Since its inception in fall of 2015, over 50,000 Islanders (and counting), have said yes to becoming an organ and/or tissue donor.

It is crucial that your loved ones know your decision to be an organ donor so that they can honor and support your wishes.

Cornea Donation FAQs

01 - Who can be an eye donor?

The great thing about corneal tissue is that anyone can be an eye donor. Blood type does not have to match and it does not matter if the potential donor has good eyesight. Only those suffering from some forms of cancer, infections or a few highly communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis will disqualify a potential ocular donor.

02 - What is the cornea?

The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer. It is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. What is corneal blindness? When the cornea becomes cloudy, light cannot penetrate the eye to reach the light sensitive retina. Poor vision or blindness may result.

03 - How does a cornea transplant work?

A corneal transplant involves the removal of the central portion (called a button) of the diseased cornea and replacing it with a matched button of a donor’s cornea. Corneal grafts are also performed on patients with damaged or scarred corneas that prevent acceptable vision. Scarring may have resulted from disease or trauma. corneal transplants can restore vision, reduce pain, and improve the appearance of unhealthy cornea.

04 - How soon after a donation must a cornea be transplanted?

Recovery of the donor eye tissue takes place within hours of death. A corneal transplant is performed as quickly as possible (usually within 3-7 days).

05 - Why should I donate my eyes?

There is no substitute for human tissue. The transplantation process depends upon the priceless gift of corneal donation from one human to another. Donated eyes are also needed for research and education. Research on glaucoma, retinal disease, eye complications of diabetes and other sight disorders helps to advance the discovery of the cause and effects of these conditions. This can then lead to new treatments and cures.

06 - Who do I contact for more information about cornea donation?

Email: organandtissue@gov.pe.ca

Phone: 902-368-5920

Mailing Address:
Organ and Tissue Donation
Sullivan Building (3rd Floor)
16 Fitzroy Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7N8