Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, or LOPA, works in conjunction with 3 eye banks in Louisiana, and is the federally designated Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) for the state of Louisiana.

Eye donation begins with a decision to donate. A person registers as an organ, eye and tissue donor in the State of Louisiana by saying “YES” when getting their driver’s license or State ID, or by signing up on the Louisiana Donor Registry at www.donatelifela.org

A family discussion is strongly encouraged so that all family members, or next of kin, are aware of a person’s decision to donate.

Donors are Heroes. A donor is choosing to save and heal the lives of others when they die. For recipients, donated corneal tissue can greatly improve the quality of their life. The results are a cornea transplant for a patient suffering from corneal blindness. A cornea transplant is a procedure that replaces a diseased or scarred cornea with a cornea recovered from a person who has passed away. The eye banks in Louisiana facilitate this important process.

The following is an outline of the basic steps in eye donation after someone dies.

-Many people are potential candidates for eye donation when they die. Recovery of tissue must be recovered generally within 12-15 hours of death.

-The eye banks in Louisiana receive their referrals from LOPA’s 24-hour call center. Those calls come from not only hospitals, but also coroners in our state. LOPA is provided with basic information about the potential donor, and forwards the provided information to the appropriate eye bank. The eye bank then determines if corneal tissue can be recovered.

-If that deceased person meets the criteria to be an eye donor, and is in the donor registry, the eye bank contacts the donor’s next of kin for medical and social history. If the potential donor is not in the registry, next of kin is contacted so that the opportunity for eye donation can be discussed with next of kin.

-The eye banks in Louisiana recover corneas for donation. Corneas have the potential to greatly improve peoples’ lives. 2 people can have sight restored from one eye donor.

-After cornea recovery is completed, the donor’s family can proceed with memorial services of their choice. Open casket funerals are possible.

The eye banks serving Louisiana are:

Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank | Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research | Southern Eye Bank