Funeral Service Professionals'
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who should I contact with questions?

For donations in progress, call the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank at 800-444-7479, option #1. For all other inquiries, email the Community & Professional Relations department.

2. Is the eye bank a part of Donor Alliance?

No. While we do work very closely with Donor Alliance, the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is a separate, nonprofit organization.

3. The decedent is already at my facility and the family wants to donate. Can eye donation happen under these circumstances?

Possibly. The first step is to call RMLEB and speak with a donation coordinator. Please call 800-444-7479. This will help us determine if the decedent is medically eligible to donate. Finally, we must work within some time constraints. Generally speaking, the eye recovery must be completed within 12 hours from the time of death.

4. I'm concerned about the appearance of the decedent after donation, so I don't give families the option of a viewing after eye donation. Why do you tell them they can have an open casket or viewing?

We tell the families of eye donors that donating eye tissues should not affect their ability to have a viewing or an open casket because, in most cases, there are no outward changes to the eyes. Our technicians will inform you when there may be complications.

We make every effort to make your jobs easier, and the use of eye caps is standard in all recoveries.

RMLEB has worked very closely with a mortuary science expert to develop general recommendations for embalming eye donors. Email the Community & Professional Relations department for a copy of the embalming recommendations.

5. Why can it take so long for the eye bank to complete the donation process?

There are many steps in the donation process and many occur before we are involved. It starts with the decedent being referred to the Donor Information Line to determine if they are eligible to be an eye, organ, or tissue donor. This call is federally mandated for hospitals.

If the decedent is a potential donor, the Donor Information Line will check to see if the decedent already made the decision to donate through the Colorado or Wyoming Donor Registries. If not, then the family is given the option to donate by specially-trained healthcare workers at the hospital.

Because the family is at the core of the process, hospital staff notifies them and gives them time to perform any bedside rituals, make phone calls, and any other decisions before making a decision about donation. Only after the family has made the decision to donate is the eye bank is notified about the donation.

Our caseload, the proximity of an available technician, a coroner's involvement, the involvement of the tissue or organ bank, and many other factors are at work to determine how quickly we can complete the recovery. Generally, eye recovery must be completed within 12 hours of the time of death.

Time is our worst enemy, and RMLEB makes every effort to expedite the process. This is for better transplant outcomes as well as a better experience for the hospital, family, and funeral home.

6. Does the eye bank pay funeral homes for any delays in getting the body to my facility because of a donation?

No. State laws put the donation above the rights of all others and require the donation to be complete prior to embalming or release of the body. RMLEB makes every effort to complete the recovery while the body is at the hospital. When this is not possible, or when delays are expected, RMLEB makes every effort to communicate and work with all of those involved, including the hospital, coroner, and funeral home.

7: Does the eye bank pay restoration fees for eye donors whose families choose a viewing or open casket? 

No. Work to restore the eyes following a recovery of donated eye tissues should be minimal. Detailed recommendations on the restoration and embalming of eye donors can be found here.

8. Does the eye bank reimburse funeral homes for costs related to after-hours access to donors?

Yes. RMLEB will pay a reasonable fee if it is agreed upon in advance. Hospitals should not release the body until the donation is complete. That said, we understand there are circumstances where a funeral home must take possession of the body prior to the donation. We also understand funeral home staff may have to be contacted in the middle of the night to give us access.

9. Why should funeral service professionals work with RMLEB?

We serve the same families. To fulfill the donation and funeral requests of those families, we must work together. Our failure to do so could lead to confusion, delays, and an overall unpleasant experience for the families we both serve.

Because state laws govern the donation process, cooperating with one another also ensures we are both working within the law's requirements.