Our commitment to you

Donor families are our real heroes. So we do all we can to provide the care you need. During times of great grief, donor families are able to find the courage to help make the gift of sight a reality for someone struggling with blindness. In many cases, we see the healing go both ways. Our donor families often tell us that the donation was a positive that came from a negative, and actually helped them cope with the pain of losing their loved one. Through their donation, it can feel like part of their loved one lives on.

SightLife is a non-profit global health organization solely focused on eliminating corneal blindness worldwide. We help make more sight-restoring surgeries possible.

The gift of sight from your loved one has a more profound impact on the lives of others than you can imagine.

— Monty Montoya, President and CEO, SightLife

Gina & Monty Montoya

Frequently Asked Questions

It is natural to have some questions about eye donation. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions along with answers. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have additional questions.

Are hospitals required to notify tissue donation programs?

Hospitals are required to notify donation programs of all deaths to ensure that every eligible patient and their family has the opportunity to donate. In addition to partnering with hospitals, SightLife also works closely with Medical Examiners, Coroners and Funeral Homes in the community. Donation is one of many end of life decisions patients and their families must make.

Why did SightLife reach out to me so soon after my loved one passed?

We understand this is a very difficult time. Unfortunately, tissue donation is only possible in the hours immediately following the death. In order to preserve every patient’s opportunity to be a donor, we must speak with their family as soon as possible.

Why was I asked so many questions about my loved one’s medical and social history?

Tissue donation and transplantation is federally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The medical and social history questions we ask are a required and important part of ensuring the safety of the donated tissue.

My loved one was a registered donor. What does that mean?

By signing up on the donor registry, your loved one gave legal authorization to donate their organs, eyes and tissues upon death, instead of leaving the decision to relatives. While the decision to donate has already been made by your loved one, donor families play an important role in honoring that decision by providing information critical to the donation and transplantation process. The most common method of signing up on the donor registry is through the DMV when obtaining/renewing a driver’s license. Alternatively, an individual can sign up online www.donatelife.net.

How quickly must a cornea transplant take place?

A donated cornea can be preserved for up to 14 days, but most corneas are transplanted within the first few days.

Where can I find grief counselors and/or counseling materials?

If you or a family member needs help finding a counselor who specializes in bereavement or grief support group in your area, please contact SightLife’s Family Services department, at 800.847.5768 ext. 138 or donorfamilyservices@sightlife.org, and we will assist in helping you find these services. You can also visit our grief resources page for online materials.

Below are a few important links we'd like to share with you: