Governor Cuomo Announces Measures to Increase Organ Donations in New York State

The new online New York State Donate Life Registry, launched on Monday, October 16, is the result of much dedicated advocacy conducted by Donate Life New York State (formerly the New York Alliance for Donation) and all its member organizations statewide, including The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration and our volunteers.

Thanks to the new registry, it is now possible for New Yorkers to sign up to become organ, eye, and tissue donors using their smartphones.

According to Patricia Dahl, The Eye-Bank’s Executive Director, “We now have the power to change lives right in the palm of our hands.”

From the Governor’s Press Office:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of measures aimed at increasing organ donation in New York State. These actions include signing an Executive Order that directs the State Health Department to work with all state agencies to provide the public with additional opportunities to become an organ donor through the new Donate Life Registry. Governor Cuomo also signed legislation making “Lauren’s Law” permanent in New York State, and an updated, state-of-the-art Donate Life Registry launched to streamline the organ donor registration process.

“These aggressive steps break down barriers and take proactive action to encourage more New Yorkers to become organ donors, while helping to save countless lives in the process,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take action, become an organ donor and help us create a healthier and stronger Empire State for all.”

The measures include:

Executive Order Increases Enrollment Opportunities

Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order that directs the Department of Health to work with the Transplant Council, New York Alliance for Donation, providers, and hospital systems licensed to provide organ transplant services, to develop opportunities to increase the number of registered organ donors in the state.

Additionally, the order directs state agencies to work with the Department of Health to provide opportunities for individuals to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry when applying for government benefits, services, and licenses. The Department of Health and the Office of Information Technology Services will make staff available to provide agencies with any assistance that may be necessary to ensure a seamless, effective implementation.

Research shows that while most New Yorkers support organ donation, only 28 percent of New York’s eligible population is enrolled as an organ donor. To encourage New Yorkers to enroll in the registry, the State will expand opportunities to enroll and make it easier than ever to help save a life by becoming an organ donor. According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are currently on a list of the more than 118,000 people nationwide waiting for an organ transplant. On average, 22 people die each day in the United States from causes that could have been treated with a donated organ. In addition, tissue donated by one person can positively impact the lives of more than 50 other people.

Lauren’s Law Becomes Permanent

Governor Cuomo also signed a bill (S01206/A05179), removing the expiration language from Lauren’s Law, making it permanent in New York State.

Lauren’s Law was originally signed by Governor Cuomo in October 2012, and was named for Lauren Shields, a Rockland County resident who received a life-saving heart transplant at age 9 and has since been a formidable advocate for organ donation. Under the original legislation, language was changed on the Department of Motor Vehicles license renewal form to highlight the choice for New Yorkers to enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry. Customers are required to check one of the two boxes related to organ donation in order for their application to be processed

Expanded Donate Life Registry

To further bolster enrollment in the New York State Donate Life Registry, the Department of Health worked with the New York Alliance for Donation to launch a modern and expanded registry. Enhancements include a more accessible and user-friendly website and the ability to access the registry from multiple state websites, thereby streamlining the registration process. The current registry was launched nearly 10 years ago. The more modern registry application better connects users and offers social media sharing options.

Expanded Organ Donation Registration Initiatives in 2017

Today’s announcements build upon two recent initiatives that have already significantly increased enrollment efforts. In May 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation requiring NY State of Health, New York’s official health plan marketplace, to add the organ donation component to its health insurance application. As of April 21, 2017, individuals completing an application, renewing a plan, or making a life status change are now asked if they would like to be added to the NYS Donate Life Registry. Since adding the enrollment option to its marketplace application, over 63,164 New Yorkers have become active enrollees in the New York State Donate Life Registry.

In August 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to authorize 16 and 17 year-olds to register their consent to donate at the same time they first apply for a driver license, learner permit or non-driver ID. Since the law took effect on February 14, 2017, a total of nearly 21,000 New Yorkers aged 16 and 17 have become active in the New York State Donate Life Registry.

Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Millions of New Yorkers have made the selfless decision to become organ donors, and now we’re making it easier than ever before for others to follow in their footsteps. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership we’ve created a more user-friendly registry and we’re increasing opportunities to connect potential donors with those who may benefit greatly from this incredible generosity.”

DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, “At the Department of Motor Vehicles, we are proud to have been an early partner with DOH in offering people the opportunity to sign up to be organ donors when they apply for or renew their licenses online or at any of our offices. We look forward to being part of further outreach efforts in the future because we know how vitally important it is to patients who await these life-saving donations.”

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Whether checking a box on a DMV form or signing up directly through the Donate Life Registry, becoming an organ and tissue donor may seem like a minor choice to some – but for many across the state, donations and transplants can make all the difference in the world. I commend Governor Cuomo for taking these important steps today to complement the Senate’s ongoing efforts to raise public awareness and direct resources to increase the number of life-saving organ donors in the state. As a proudly registered donor and proponent of organ donation, I urge all my fellow New Yorkers to sign up and help make a huge difference for thousands of people.”

Senate Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon said, “Increasing organ donation is New York is critically important because organs are allocated on a regional basis and currently, our state has a very low percentage of people registered as donors. Modernizing the state’s Donate Life Registry has been a Senate priority for several years, and I am pleased to see it is being launched. This and the other efforts announced today will truly save lives.”

Senator David Carlucci said, “Making Lauren’s Law permanent marks a milestone in the fight to increase organ donations in New York. I would especially like to commend Lauren Shields, a Hudson Valley resident who received a life-saving heart transplant at the age of 9, for her tireless work to see this day become a reality. Lauren’s effort to make this change was inspirational and I am thankful to have been a part of it. Now we owe the thousands of other people in similar situations the chance to get the same help Lauren did. Making her idea permanent is an enormous step on that path and I commend Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”

Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried said, “Signing up for the organ donor registry saves lives. It should be simple and widely available, and expanding enrollment options will increase participation; Lauren’s Law is a great example of how one person working for a good cause can make a difference.”

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz said, “New York State now has a modern organ donation registry that will operate efficiently and promote donor consent so patients and their families will not be at risk of losing a lifesaving opportunity to receive a vital organ or tissue donation. New York has had one of the lowest donor designation rates in the United States. This action, in addition to making Lauren’s Law permanent, takes New York in a new direction for the better.”

New York Alliance for Donation Executive Director Aisha Tator said, “Donate Life New York State is joining forces with Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health to solve the state’s public health crisis of organ scarcity. Together, we will save the lives of those awaiting a transplant by reforming the New York State Donate Life Registry. Currently, New York’s registry is ranked 51 out of 52 registries in the country for participation. That is going to change with this partnership. As collaborative partners and the state-appointed contractor for the new Donate Life New York State Registry, we will leverage state and community resources to encourage a greater culture of donation while making it simpler – and quicker – for New Yorkers to join the registry. We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s support and leadership in addressing this crisis, which will help save the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers who need a life-saving transplant.”

Organ Donor Recipient and Organ Donation Advocate Lauren Shields said, “Today is an amazing day for New Yorkers. I am so grateful to Governor Cuomo for making Lauren’s Law permanent in New York State. So many New Yorkers will be saved as a result. I am in awe this law will be in effect for generations to come and continue to help increase the number of New Yorkers enrolling in the Donate Life Registry. In addition, I am so extremely thankful to the New York State Legislature, who continue to support the cause of donation, and especially Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Ortiz for their tireless efforts.”

New Yorkers can enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry through the following online options:

  • The NYS Department of Health website-
  • At the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website –
  • At the NYS Board of Elections website –
  • When applying for a New York City Identification Card –



New York Teenagers Now Able to Join the Donate Life Registry

Sixteen and getting your learner’s permit or first driver’s license? New York State law now allows you to complete the donor designation section on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) application.


From the New York Alliance for Donation:

Life-changing legislation signed into law by Governor Cuomo in August 2016 [took effect on] February 14, 2017, potentially impacting thousands. The bill, A.4990B-Ortiz/S.5313A-Hannon, allows sixteen and seventeen-year-olds to express their intent to be organ, eye, and tissue donors by enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry. With this law, New York joins 48 other registries, including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, where there is either no age restriction to join the donor registry, or the minimum age is younger than eighteen.


The donor designation section on New York State DMV application forms.

The donor designation section is available as well on the learner’s permit and driver’s license application forms that can be downloaded from the New York State’s DMV website. Those wishing to enroll can also visit The Eye-Bank’s website,, and sign up by clicking on the “Become a Donor” button to download a form.

This law helps to remove barriers for young people who wish to indicate their desire to be a registered donor, potentially making a difference for any number of the 10,000 New Yorkers who are waiting for life-saving organ and tissue transplants.

Summer Fun in the Sun Safety

While you enjoy outdoor activities this summer, consider these safety tips to protect your eyesight from the sun.

Summer Eye Protection_edited

From The American Academy of Ophthalmology:

Most sunglasses are designed to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful effects. Often the labels on sunglasses promise protection from ultraviolet light and other kinds of natural radiation. It is important to know what kind of light you need to protect your eyes from and what type of light is not necessarily harmful.

Blocks 99 percent of ultraviolet rays

You should always buy sunglasses with this feature. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to cataracts and eye growths, including cancer. UVB radiation is considered more dangerous to the eyes and skin than UVA radiation.

Both plastic and glass lenses absorb some UV light, but UV absorption can be improved by adding chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing or by applying special lens coatings.

Look for sunglasses that block 99 percent or 100 percent of all UV light. Some manufacturer’s labels say “UV absorption up to 400nm.” This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption.

Ground and polished

Some nonprescription glasses are ground and polished to improve the quality of the lenses. Nonprescription lenses that are not ground and polished will not hurt your eyes.

You do want to make sure that the lenses you buy are made properly. To judge the quality of nonprescription sunglasses, look at something with a rectangular pattern, such as floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair.

Impact resistant

All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely than glass lenses to shatter when hit by a ball or stone.

Most nonprescription sunglass lenses are plastic. Polycarbonate plastic sunglasses, used in many sports, are especially tough, but they scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, look for ones with scratch-resistant coatings.


Polarized lenses cut reflected glare — sunlight that bounces off smooth surfaces like pavement, car windows, chromed surfaces or water. They can be particularly useful for driving and fishing.

Polarization has nothing to do with UV light absorption, but many polarized lenses are now combined with a UV-blocking substance. Check the label to make sure the lenses provide maximum UV protection.

Lens darkness

A medium lens is good for day-to-day wear, but if you use the glasses for very bright conditions, choose a darker lens.

The color and the degree of darkness do not tell you anything about the lenses’ ability to block UV light.


A photochromic glasses lens automatically darkens in bright light and becomes lighter in low light. Most of the darkening takes place in about half a minute, while the lightening takes about five minutes. Photochromic lenses come in a uniform or gradient tint.

Although photochromic lenses may be good UV-absorbent sunglasses (again, the label must state this benefit), it takes time for them to adjust to different light conditions.

Wraparound style

Wraparound glasses are shaped to keep light from shining around the frames and into your eyes.

Studies have shown that enough UV rays enter around ordinary eyeglass frames to reduce the benefits of protective lenses. Large-framed wraparound sunglasses can protect your eyes from all angles.

Gradient lenses

Gradient lenses are permanently shaded from top to bottom or from top and bottom toward the middle. Single gradient lenses (dark on top and lighter on the bottom) can cut glare from the sky but allow you to see clearly below. They are useful for driving because they don’t dim your view of the dashboard. They’re not as good, however, at reducing glare in snowy surroundings or at the beach.

Double-gradient lenses (dark on top and bottom and lighter in the middle) may be better for sports where light reflects up off the water or snow, such as sailing or skiing.

Double-gradient lenses are not recommended for driving because they make the dashboard appear dim.

Mirror coated

Mirror finishes are thin layers of various metallic coatings on an ordinary lens. Although they do reduce the amount of visible light entering your eyes, do not assume they will fully protect you against UV radiation.

Blocks 90 percent of infrared rays

Infrared wavelengths are invisible and produce heat. Sunlight has low levels of infrared rays, and the eye tolerates infrared well.

Some sunglass manufacturers make health claims for their products based on infrared protection, but research has not shown a close connection between eye disease and infrared rays.


Whether blue light is harmful to the eye is still controversial. Lenses that block all blue light are usually amber colored and make your surroundings look yellow or orange. The tint supposedly makes distant objects appear more distinct, especially in snow or haze. For this reason, amber sunglasses are popular among skiers, hunters, boaters and pilots.


For Cataract Awareness Month, Increase Your Vitamin C Intake

A study published in the June 2016 issue of Ophthalmology has shown that getting vitamin C can help curb the progression of cataracts.

Citrus fruit

From The American Academy of Ophthalmology:

What do grapefruit, broccoli and strawberries have in common?

They are foods loaded with vitamin C, which could help ward off cataracts, according to a British study.

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that happens naturally with age. The condition is the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Researchers from King’s College London examined data from more than 1,000 pairs of female twins to see what factors may help keep cataracts at bay. They tracked intake of vitamin C and other nutrients from food and supplements. They also recorded how opaque the subjects’ lenses were at around age 60, with a follow-up on 324 sets of twins about 10 years later.

Women who reported consuming more vitamin C-rich foods had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression over the decade, according to the study. Their lenses were also more clear overall.

“While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C,” said study author Christopher Hammond, M.D., FRCOphth, professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London. The researchers noted that the findings only pertain to vitamins consumed through food and not supplements.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The fluid inside the eyeball is normally high in a compound similar to vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that results in a clouded lens. Scientists believe more vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present around the lens, providing extra protection.

Because the study was done in twins, the team was also able to calculate how much of a role genetics versus environmental factors play in cataract progression. While environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent, genetic factors only accounted for 35, indicating that diet and lifestyle may outweigh genetics.

The study, “Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract,” will be published this June in Ophthalmology, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Potential Biomarker for Glaucoma Damage Identified

From BioQuick News:

Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness worldwide, is most often diagnosed during a routine eye exam. Over time, elevated pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. Unfortunately, there’s no way to accurately predict which patients might lose vision most rapidly. Now, studying mice, rats, and fluid removed from the eyes of patients with glaucoma, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a marker of damage to cells in the eye that potentially could be used to monitor progression of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment. The findings were published online on May 4, 2017 in the journal JCI Insight. The open-access article is titled “GDF15 Is Elevated in Mice Following Retinal Ganglion Cell Death and in Glaucoma Patients.” “There hasn’t been a reliable way to predict which patients with glaucoma have a high risk of rapid vision loss,” said principal investigator Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, the Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. “But we’ve identified a biomarker that seems to correlate with disease severity in patients, and what that marker is measuring is stress to the cells rather than cell death. Other glaucoma tests are measuring cell death, which is not reversible, but if we can identify when cells are under stress, then there’s the potential to save those cells to preserve vision.” Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the world, affecting more than 60 million people. The disease often begins silently, with peripheral vision loss that occurs so gradually that it can go unnoticed. Over time, central vision becomes affected, which can mean substantial damage already has occurred before any aggressive therapy begins. Many patients start receiving treatment when their doctors discover they have elevated pressure in the eye. Those treatments, such as eye drops, are aimed at lowering pressure in the eye, but such therapies may not always protect ganglion cells in the retina, which are the cells destroyed in glaucoma, leading to vision loss. Dr. Apte, also a Professor of Developmental Biology, of Medicine and of Neuroscience, said that all current treatments for glaucoma are aimed at lowering pressure in the eye to reduce ganglion cell loss and not necessarily at directly preserving ganglion cells.

Glaucoma specialists attempt to track the vision loss caused by ganglion cell death with visual field testing. That’s when a patient pushes a button when they see a blinking light. As vision is lost, patients see fewer lights blinking in the periphery of the visual field, but such testing is not always completely reliable, according to the paper’s first author, Norimitsu Ban, MD, an ophthalmologist and a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Apte’s laboratory.

Some older people don’t do as well on the visual field test for reasons that may not be related to what’s going on in their eyes, Dr. Ban explained. He said that finding a marker of cell damage in the eye would be a much more reliable way to track the progression of glaucoma.

“We were lucky to be able to identify a gene and are very excited that the same gene seems to be a marker of stress to ganglion cells in the retinas of mice, rats, and humans,” Dr. Ban said.

Studying mouse models of glaucoma, Dr. Ban, Dr. Apte and their colleagues identified a molecule in the eye called growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), noting that the levels of the molecule increased as the animals aged and developed optic nerve damage.

When they repeated the experiments in rats, they replicated their results. Further, in patients undergoing eye surgery to treat glaucoma, cataracts, and other issues, the researchers found that those with glaucoma also had elevated GDF15 in the fluid of their eyes.

“That was exciting because comparing the fluid from patients without glaucoma to those with glaucoma, the GDF15 biomarker was significantly elevated in the glaucoma patients,” Dr. Apte said. “We also found that higher levels of the molecule were associated with worse functional outcomes, so this biomarker seems to correlate with disease severity.”

Dr. Apte and Dr. Ban don’t believe that the molecule causes cells in the retina to die; rather, that it is a marker of stress in retinal cells.
“It seems to be a harbinger of future cell death rather than a molecule that’s actually damaging the cells,” Dr. Apte said.

A potential limitation of this study is that the fluid samples were taken from the eyes of patients only once, so it was not possible to monitor levels of GDF15 over time. In future studies, it will be important to measure the biomarker at several time points to determine whether levels of the biomarker increase as the disease progresses, Dr. Apte said.

He would also like to learn whether GDF15 levels eventually decline in those who have significant vision loss from glaucoma. In theory, Dr. Apte said, when most of the ganglion cells in the retina already have died, fewer cells would be under stress, and that could mean lower levels.

“So we are interested in doing a prospective study and sampling fluid from the eye over several months or years to correlate glaucoma progression with levels of this marker,” he said. “We’d also like to learn whether levels of GDF15 change after treatment, a particularly important question as we try to develop therapies that preserve vision more effectively in these patients.”

The Eye-Bank goes to Albany for annual Legislative Education Day

The Eye-Bank joined the New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) and other organ, eye, and tissue recovery organizations in Albany on Tuesday, May 2nd for Legislative Education Day.

Results were immediate with the New York State Senate announcing the passage of several bills on Tuesday:

The New York State Senate today passed a package of bipartisan bills aimed at encouraging more New Yorkers to become organ and tissue donors and protecting the rights of those who do. The bills focus on enhancing public awareness and removing bureaucratic obstacles and will increase the number of New Yorkers who sign up to help save lives through organ, tissue, bone marrow, and blood donation.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said, “Organ and tissue transplants affect nearly everyone. It’s an unfortunate truth for New Yorkers, but whether it’s you or someone close to you, your chances of being donated any type of organ for a lifesaving procedure are among the slimmest in the nation. The Senate is doing its best to correct this trend, and the bills we passed today build upon our longstanding commitment to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation and would be instrumental to helping more people live long, healthy lives.”

Only 27 percent of potential New Yorkers are enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry – the lowest rate in the country, whereas nearly 10,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in New York – the third highest rate in the country. The Senate continues to be advocates for increasing resources and public awareness on the importance of organ and tissue donation through legislation and funding. This year’s enacted state budget included $1.3 million as part of the Senate’s ongoing commitment to help New Yorkers’ need of lifesaving transplants.

The Senate passed two bills sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau) to provide a wide variety of protections and support for prospective organ donors. The measures would bolster the amount of lifesaving organ and tissue and donations and shield donors in New York by:

· Enacting the “Living Donor Protection Act of 2017” to prevent discrimination against living organ or tissue donors who have or are applying for life, accident, health, or long-term care insurance; designating transplantation preparation and recovery related to donation as “serious health conditions” covered by paid family leave; and directing the Commissioner of Health, in cooperation with the transplant council and other interested parties to develop and distribute information on live organ donation (S2496); and S2497).

Senator Hannon said, “Each year the waiting list for organ transplants grows longer, with nearly 10,000 New Yorkers currently awaiting a transplant in this state alone. My legislation will accomplish many goals. It will ensure donors receive reliable and accurate information about donation and make sure those who donate are protected against insurance discrimination and benefit from paid family leave. It will also replace the current organ donation income tax deduction with a one-time personal income tax credit for up to $10,000 for expenses incurred by a living organ donor.”

To further increase public awareness of organ and tissue donation, especially among youth, a bill (S5283B) sponsored by Senator Chris Jacobs (R-C-I, Buffalo) would allow SUNY, CUNY, and library card applicants to register as an organ donor. The bill would expand Lauren’s Law, which changed DMV forms to require applicants to choose “yes” or “skip” the question about becoming a donor.

Senator Jacobs said, “The organ donor registration access bill approved today will enable us to target our Donate Life message to a captive new audience of over 20 million people. Our hope is that through our legislation, more people, particularly younger generations, will get exposed to the concept of organ donation earlier in life and sign up for this lifesaving cause.”

The Senate also passed legislation (S2162A), sponsored by Senator Susan Serino (R-C-I, Hyde Park), to help medical transport teams quickly operate within their necessary and sensitive time frames. The bill would add human organ delivery vehicles to the list of authorized emergency vehicles in the state.

Senator Serino said, “When your life depends on receiving a new organ or tissue donation, every second counts. To think that a life could be lost as an organ delivery vehicle sits in traffic is reprehensible. Should this bill become law, it would take effect immediately, so I urge my colleagues in both houses to make it a priority. Those on wait-lists for an organ have waited long enough.”

In addition, the Senate passed a bill (S474B), sponsored by Senator Jose Peralta (D, East Elmurst), that would give the option to applicants for the practice of a profession or occupation, state income tax filers, and applicants registering motor vehicles to register in the Donate Life Registry for organ, eye, and tissue donation.

The Senate also passed a measure (S1475), sponsored by Senator David Carlucci (D, Rockland/Westchester), that would allow a taxpayer or the spouse of a taxpayer to deduct costs related to the taxpayer’s organ donation, and include child care costs within such allowable costs.

The bills will be sent to the Assembly.

Additionally, another bill (S2495) sponsored by Senator Hannon, which would allow the state’s Transplant Council to expand its scope and help New York organ donation efforts by making annual recommendations to the Commissioner of Health on organ donation, procurement organizations, and organ banks and storage, passed both houses earlier this year.

LegEdDay entire group, 5-2-17
Approximately 65 volunteers joined staff from the New York Alliance for Donation member organizations in Albany on May 2nd for Legislative Education Day.
LegEdDay meeting, 5-2-17
From left to right: Donor wife, hospital liaison with The Eye-Bank, staffer from Assemblyman N. Nick Perry’s office (D-58 Brooklyn), and two staff members from The Eye-Bank’s Communications Department.
LegEdDay group 2, 5-2-17
From left to right: donor son, lung transplant recipient, and staff member from The Eye-Bank’s Communications Department with Senator Martin Golden (R-22 Brooklyn).
LegEdDay group 3, 5-2-17
From left to right: staff member from LiveOnNY, hospital liaison from The Eye-Bank, Senator Phil Boyle (R-4 Suffolk County), donor mother volunteer, and board member from The Eye-Bank who is also a donor mother.
LegEdDay group 4, 5-2-17
Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-12 Suffolk County) meets with Legislative Education Day volunteers who shared information on the importance of eye, organ, and tissue donation.
LegEdDay group 5, 5-2-17
Legislative Education Day participants meet New York State Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Wayne Jackson.

The Eye-Bank would like to thank our volunteers whose efforts made this Legislative Education Day such a success.

Governor Cuomo urges Residents to Consider Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

New Yorkers are offered multiple opportunities to sign up in the state’s Donate Life Registry. Last week when commemorating April as Donate Life Month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New Yorkers can now register as eye, organ, and tissue donors when they apply for health insurance through NY State of Health, New York State’s official health insurance marketplace.

Other ways New Yorkers can enroll include:

  • Applying for a New York State driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles office or by visiting NYS Department of Motor Vehicles;
  • Applying for a free municipal ID card if a resident of New York City at (IDNYC is available to any city resident as a method of identification for various government and non-government services and offers additional NYC perks such as museum memberships);
  • Registering to vote as a New York State resident by visiting NYS Board of Elections;
  • By visiting The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration’s website and downloading the New York State Donate Life Registry form;
  • And by calling The Eye-Bank at (212) 742-9000 and asking to be sent an enrollment form in the mail.

By signing up in the New York State Donate Life Registry, you may someday make a difference for New Yorkers who are in need of sight-saving corneal transplants or life-saving organ and tissue transplants. Once enrolled, your specific wishes about eye, organ, and tissue donation will be entered and the New York State Department of Health will send you a letter confirming you are in the State’s Donate Life Registry.

March is National Eye Donor Month

March 7, 2017

Contact:  Noel Mick


(212) 742-9000

Sign up in the Donate Life Registry now and you may someday leave the beautiful gift of sight to someone who is blind.  There is no cost to be a donor and even people who wear glasses, can donate.   According to The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, a non-profit organization serving the Greater New York City area, hundreds of men, women and children can be saved from blindness each year with sight-saving cornea transplants made possible with donor eye tissue.  And more than 10,000 other New Yorkers who are waiting for life-saving organ and tissue transplants can be helped through organ and tissue donation.  Donating your eyes and other organs at death can restore sight and health to persons in need.

There are a number of ways New Yorkers can sign up in the Donate Life Registry starting with when you are getting a new or renewed driver’s license either in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or when completing forms by mail.

All residents of New York City who apply for a free municipal ID card also have the option of enrolling to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor by completing the section provided on the application. IDNYC is available to any city resident regardless of immigration status as a method of identification for various government and non-government services. Go to to apply online or for more information.

Lastly, one can visit The Eye-Bank’s web site,, and click on the “Become a Donor” button to download a form.  Or, call The Eye-Bank at (212) 742-9000 and ask to be sent an enrollment form in the mail. Whether you sign up when getting a new driver’s license, a free ID card, or by going to The Eye-Bank’s web site, the New York State Department of Health will send you a letter confirming you are in the State’s Donate Life Registry.

“I signed up!”

Once you sign up to become a donor, ask your family and friends to do the same.  Join the thousands of friends on Facebook who have posted their decision to donate on their status bars.  Or go to and “like” The Eye-Bank on Facebook. 

For more information about eye donation and the good that it can do, call The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration (212) 742-9000 or go to