Colorado led the nation in 2009 as the state with the highest eye, organ and tissue donor designation rate with 64.4 percent. The designation rate is the number of individuals who joined the state donor registry expressed as a percentage of all driver’s licenses and ID cards issued. Wyoming was at the top of another donor designation rate, the “Actionable Donor Designation (ADD) Population 18+ Share,” at 81 percent. This is the total number of designated donors as a percentage of all state residents age 18 and over.
Today, the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank (RMLEB) released statistics in conjunction with the National Donor Designation Report Card that confirmed these numbers. A link to the report is at the bottom of this article.
The high percentage of Colorado and Wyoming residents joining their state's registry also means more eye donors are registered as well. In 2009, RMLEB fulfilled the wishes of 1,393 eye donors from Colorado, of which 60 percent were registered. The outcome was 993 corneal transplants made possible by these donors. Wyoming had 151 eye donors in 2009, of which 55 percent were registered. Sixty eight corneal transplants were made possible from registered Wyoming donors. So far in 2010, 69 percent of eye donors from the RMLEB service area of Colorado and Wyoming have come via the state registries.
These rates are considerably higher than the 2009 national registered eye donor rate of 38 percent. When a potential donor is not registered, that person’s family members must decide on donation, often with the burden of not knowing what their loved one would have wanted.
There are still many residents from both states who have not registered as eye, organ and tissue donors, for various reasons. The report revealed research consistent with research done in Colorado showing the number one reason people don’t register is that they think they cannot due to age, lifestyle or health.
“Nobody should let these factors prevent them from registering as a donor and potentially helping others in this way someday,” said Ed Jacobs, RMLEB executive director. “It’s also important to tell your family about the wish to donate.”
Colorado now offers online driver's license renewal, an easier and faster process than renewing at the driver's license office. Users of the system can also register as eye, organ and tissue donors as well.