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According to Halacha, is it permissible to perform eye donations or not?

I ask because, unlike many other organs, the eye isn’t generally a case of Pikuach Nefesh, but there are many things in life that require good eyes. Would this be considered prohibited on the basis you don’t own your body, or permissible?

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  • There's no mitzvah that can't be performed without eyesight. There's no requirement to READ the Torah.
    – ElonMusk
    Dec 17, 2023 at 4:42

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R Chaim Jachter has a very good summary of relevant opinions

  • Rav Waldenberg and Dayan Weisz categorically forbid cornea transplants because of the issue of denigrating the dead

  • Rav Isser Yehuda Unterman permits cornea transplants because the cornea is smaller than the size of an olive and constitutes a distinct unit, as such there is no prohibitions to derive benefit from the dead and to denigrate the dead to such a small and distinct part of the body

  • Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank disagrees with the above but is inclined to permit the transplant for another reason, he views receiving a cornea as benefiting in an unusual manner which the gemara (Pesachim 25b) permits for something that we normally are forbidden to benefit from

  • Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg permits cornea transplants on behalf of one who is blind in both eyes, he reasons that a blind individual is in danger of falling into a pit or fire (or traffic), and therefore it is vital for him to receive eyesight in any fashion

  • Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach endorses the lenient ruling of Rav Unterman, as does Rav Ovadia Yosef (Teshuvot Yabia Omer 3 Y.D. 23), though he does so only in case of great need and if the donor during his lifetime authorized the donation of a cornea after death.

For more incl. detailed sources and reasoning see the original. See also here for additional details.

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