Eye donation for transplant can restore people’s sight, improve their quality of life, and allow them to reclaim productive lives. Eye donation for research helps countless individuals in the future with a gift that never dies.

The Minnesota Lions Eye Bank recovers eyes from more than 1,000 eye donors every year, and each donor is treated with dignity and respect. We honor our donors for for the priceless gift they give to strangers: the gift of sight.

Commitment to Confidentiality

The Minnesota Lions Eye Bank maintains a strict confidentiality policy for donors and recipients. The decision to donate is confidential, and the gift of sight is made anonymously.

Care in Eye and Cornea Donation

The Minnesota Lions Eye Bank practices both whole eye (during which the entire eye is removed) and in situ (in which only the cornea is removed) donation. While the cornea (the clear tissue in the front of the eye) is the only part of the eye regularly transplanted, the sclera (white of the eye) can also be used in surgery to repair the recipient’s sclera.

To ensure recipient safety, a sample of the donor’s blood is sent to a laboratory to test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and C, and syphilis.

The Minnesota Lions Eye Bank evaluates all donated corneas to ensure they are healthy enough for transplantation. In the event the corneas may not qualify for transplantation, we seek the family’s consent to use the eye or parts of the eye not transplanted for research.

Writing to Cornea Recipients

The Minnesota Lions Eye Bank acts as an intermediary between corneal donor families and recipients.. In this capacity, we strive to serve both donor families and recipients to the best of our abilities.

If you are a donor family member who would like to write to your donor’s cornea recipient(s) family, we offer you these guidelines:

  • Use simple language and communicate in a sensitive manner.
  • Feel free to write about your donor’s job, family, hobbies, and interests and what made him or her special.
  • Do not include the last name of the donor or your last name, address, phone number.
  • Place the card or letter in an unsealed envelope.
  • Include a cover sheet with your name, address, and the date of your transplant.
  • Mail the materials to Jodi Altenhofen, Community Services Liaison (address below).

Community Services Liaison

Eye and cornea donor families tissue are assisted by our community services liaison, Jodi Altenhofen. If you want more information on our donor family support services, wish to provide feedback or a story to the eye bank, or are interested in volunteering for the eye bank, please contact Jodi at:

Jodi Altenhofen
Community Services Liaison
1000 Westgate Drive – Suite 260
Saint Paul, MN  55114

Direct Line: 612-624-0446
Toll-Free: 1-866-887-4448
Email: magnu007@umn.edu