April 2018 Issue of Insight


Chair’s Address

It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year, but it’s already Spring!  I am quite confident that I am not the only one that considers Spring the best season of the year.  Spring is a time of renewal, which makes it the perfect time for Donate Life Month.  Now that EBAA has moved Eye Donation Month to November, we hope that everyone is using this time to promote eye, organ, and tissue donation.

Donate Life functions are great opportunities to strengthen relationships with other donation organizations.  All of the organizations involved in donation and/or transplantation need to ensure that the public is receiving the consistent message that all donation is important; whether it is life-saving organs, sight restoring ocular grafts, or tissue grafts for restoring mobility.

One of the main reasons that I enjoy Donate Life month is that it provides numerous opportunities for our staff to spend time with our donor families and recipients.  Their stories are incredibly moving and hearing them first hand recharges me and reminds me of why I go to work every day.  Below is one of my favorite letters from a recipient to her donor family.  I keep this letter on my desktop and reread it whenever I am feeling overwhelmed.  I hope it helps to remind you of the importance of the work you do every day!

Dear Donor Family,

Thank you so much for donating eye tissue from your loved one.  On January 22nd, I received a corneal tissue graft during surgery to implant a tube for glaucoma treatment.

I am a 73-year-old woman in very good health except for progressive glaucoma which was diagnosed many years ago.  Without medicine and surgery, I would be blind today.

When I was informed after surgery that a donor graft had been used, my first thought was for my father.  Back in the 1950’s, as an active member of the Lions Club, he helped start the Oklahoma Lions Eye Bank.  I hadn’t cried for my father for many years, but I boo-hooed then because I couldn’t tell him how his legacy helped me.

Of course, my next thought was for you.  The pain of your loss is probably still fresh.  Please be comforted by knowing that your end of life care was effective.

My husband and I worked until past age 70 and now are able to travel and enjoy sights.  This summer your loved one will be with me to see the Rhododendron Gardens at Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee, the lovely paintings at the Chicago Art Institute, and the Santa Fe Opera.

As for everyday sights, I enjoy my husband, two grown kids and a dear grandson.  Our three cats are beautiful.  My near-daily exercise is a two-mile walk on a hiking path near our home which usually provides a great dog and baby show.

My doctor said that they used to not inform patients that a donor graft had been used for fear of upsetting them.  But now they think it is more important to give a chance to thank the donor family, and also promote awareness of donation benefits.  I agree 100%.

Thank you again.

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Looking Forward: The Spirit of Service

EBAA’s 57th Annual Meeting is less than eight weeks away. With it comes the implementation of our governance restructuring, including your election of every elected position on the Board of Directors and a House of Delegates (HOD) meeting featuring more opportunities for engagement by our members, and a more balanced allocation of HOD votes.

I am pleased to announce that seventeen members declared their candidacy for Board service, and that every open position will feature a contested race. These candidates include both newcomers and those with long histories of board service; they come from banks of varying sizes, structures and missions, and they serve in a variety of roles within their organizations. In short, they look just like our members, which is exactly what we hoped would be the case.

All our candidates are respected eye bankers and physicians; while it’s a cliché to say, “it’s a shame anyone has to lose”, it is true that every one of our candidates possesses a valuable perspective and a strong commitment to the association and the profession. EBAA will certainly be well served by the 2018 – 19 Board of Directors.

Similarly, we have been fortunate to have over 250 members volunteer to serve on one or more of EBAA’s 16 committees. Dr. Van Meter is sending letters of invitation to each of the committee chairs, and full committee rosters will be announced next week.

Thank you to all our members who have offered to serve the association and the profession; you make all our work possible.

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Annual Meeting Early Bird Rates End Tomorrow; Room Block Filling Quickly

If you plan to attend the 57th Annual Meeting, “EBAA Philadelphia: The Spirit of Eye Banking,” you can lock in the lowest registration rate through tomorrow – Friday, April 13.  Rates for meeting registration, the Opening Night Terminal Party Takeover, and exhibits will all go up on Saturday.

We’re excited to offer the workshops, sessions and networking opportunities planned for this year.  For more information about the meeting, visit the Annual Meeting page or view the Schedule of Events.

While the deadline to reserve rooms at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel is still a few weeks away (May 1), the block is filling quickly.  At this point, we can confirm that queen and double rooms are still available for all nights, but king rooms may be limited.  We encourage you to reserve your room soon.

If you encounter any issues in reserving your room, please contact Molly Georgakis.

Register for the 57th Annual Meeting

Register for the Opening Night Terminal Party Takeover

Reserve a Room at the Loews Philadelphia

Purchase 2018 Heise Award Program Congratulatory Messages by April 16

Join the EBAA in honoring 2018 Leonard Heise Award Recipient, Beth Binnion!

As in previous years, EBAA will include congratulatory messages for the Heise Award recipient in the awards program, which will be distributed during the Annual Dinner on June 8.  Each message can include a maximum of 35 words and an organization logo.

All messages must be purchased, and materials submitted by April 16 to be included in the program.

Purchase a Heise Award message for Beth today!

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2018 Board of Directors Slate and New Election Procedures Announced

The Nominating Committee has announced the following slate of candidates running for positions on the 2018 Board of Directors:


  • Noel Mick – The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration
  • Kevin Ross – Eversight
  • Jason Woody – Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research


  • Beverly Lush – Dakota Lions Sight & Health
  • Gay Wilson – Miracles in Sight

Speaker of the House

  • Marcy Dimond – Dakota Lions Sight & Health
  • Dave Korroch – Lions Medical Eye Bank of Eastern Virginia

At-Large (6 positions)

  • Alan Blake – Alabama Eye Bank
  • Tim Fischer – VisionFirst
  • Mark Greiner – Iowa Lions Eye Bank
  • Bernie Iliakis – SightLife
  • Stephen Kaufman – Lions Gift of Sight
  • Dan Lunn – Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank
  • Brian Philippy – Lions Medical Eye Bank of Eastern Virginia
  • Chris Stoeger – Lions VisionGift
  • Dean Vavra – Miracles in Sight
  • Megan Young – San Diego Eye Bank

New to this year’s process, the first vote taken will be for Speaker of the House, which is administered on a one vote per bank basis; beginning in 2019, this will take place in the deliberative portion of the HOD meeting.  All eye banks, including unaccredited banks, may vote for Speaker of the House. Votes will then be held for Chair-Elect, followed by Secretary/Treasurer and then At-Large Members.  Only accredited members may vote for these positions, and votes will be allocated as follows:

Please note that the Board of Directors voted in February to disclose the number of votes held by each eye bank; this is intended to increase transparency and give candidates a better understanding of the distribution of votes in the House.  This information will be posted on the candidate webpage noted below.

Vote Allocation: 2018 House of Delegates

Following the governance restructuring last year, the bylaws were amended to permit only one individual from a given eye bank to serve on the Board at a time:

4.3          Multiple Board Members from a Single Eye Bank: Each eye bank or group of eye banks, as defined in Section 3.2, through their employees, consultants or volunteer leaders, shall hold no more than one (1) position on the Board of Directors.  Should an eye bank or group of eye banks hold more than one Board position, whether through acquisition, merger or change of employment, one or more Board members affiliated with the eye bank must resign their positions until that bank holds just one position.  The EBAA Board of Directors will consult with the member’s CEO to determine which Board member shall serve on the Board.

In cases where there are two candidates from an eye bank, the eye bank will designate which individual will remain on the Board, and which one will decline prior to elections.  These designations currently stand as follows and will be confirmed leading up to the House of Delegates meeting.

      1. Lions Medical Eye Bank of Eastern Virginia: If elected Speaker of the House, Dave Korroch would remain and Brian Philippy would withdraw from the At-Large election
      2. Dakota Lions Sight & Health: If elected Speaker of the House, Marcy Dimond would remain and Beverly Lush would withdraw from the Secretary-Treasurer election
      3. Miracles in Sight: If elected, Gay Wilson would remain and Dean Vavra would withdraw from the At-Large election

All voting will take place at the House of Delegates meeting on Friday, June 8.  Candidates will be given two minutes to present his/her credentials to the House of Delegates prior to voting.

Information on the 2018 Board of Directors Candidates, including candidate biographies, personal statements, history of EBAA service and letters of support are available on the EBAA’s website.

Please do not hesitate to contact Molly Georgakis or Kevin Corcoran for additional information.

2018 Committee Appointments to be Announced in the Next Week

Thank you to all who submitted applications for 2018 – 2020 committee service. Chair invitations are expected to go out this week and committee member invitations will follow. Full committee lists will also be posted.

EBAA will hold an Onboarding Luncheon for 2018 – 2020 committee members with facilitator Robert Nelson, on Friday, June 8, from 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM during the Annual Meeting. The session will feature recommendations and best practices for successful committee operations. Attendees will be seated by committee, so members can get to know each other, and the final portion of the session will allow committees to begin planning their upcoming year. The information shared during the session will be made available afterward to anyone who is unable to attend.

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Legislative and Regulatory Updates

2017 Statistical Report – Now Available!

The 2017 Eye Banking Statistical Report is now available and can be accessed in the members’ section of our website. Since 1961, member eye banks have provided tissue for over 1,865,396 people whose sight was restored through corneal transplants.

Here is a sneak peek at a few key stats from U.S. Eye Banks for 2017:

      • Total Donors: 68,565
      • Total eyes and corneas donated: 135,203
      • Total Corneal Grafts: 84,297
      • Domestic Transplants (intermediate-term preserved corneas): 50,934
      • International Transplants (intermediate-term preserved corneas): 26,645
      • Long-term Preserved Corneas: 12,543

If you have questions regarding the 2017 Statistical Report, please contact Jennifer DeMatteo.

Medical Advisory Board (MAB) and Accreditation Board (AB) CALL FOR AGENDA ITEMS

The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) and Accreditation Board (AB) have opened a call for agenda items for the June meetings.  Guidelines for item submission can be found below.

Medical Advisory Board
Guidelines for submitting MAB agenda items:

      • All items must be submitted in writing to the Chair and Secretary of the MAB (Michael Nordlund, MD, PhD, and Tom Miller), no later than Friday, May 4, 2018.
      • Items submitted after the cut-off date will be deferred until the next meeting unless an exception is granted by the Chair.
      • Any recommended change to the Medical Standards must be accompanied by a draft of the new wording for the standard in question.
      • Introduction of additional items during the MAB meeting must be accompanied by a draft of the new wording for the standard in question and submitted to the Chair for review.

Accreditation Board
Guidelines for Submitting AB Agenda Items:

      • All items must be submitted in writing to the Accreditation Board Co-Chairs (Eric Meinecke and Shahzad Mian, MD), no later than Friday, May 18, 2018.
      • Items submitted after the cut-off date will be deferred until the next meeting unless an exception is granted by the Co-chairs.

If you have any questions about submitting agenda items for MAB or AB, please contact Jennifer DeMatteo.


EBAA reported on recent legislative and regulatory developments in the April 10 issue of Focal Point, the association’s bi-weekly advocacy and legislative update.

To view that issue, please click here. For past issues, please visit the archive in the “Members Only” section of the website.

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Educational Programs, Seminars, and Events

Tune into the May Webinar to Hear About Descemetorhexis and Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking

Join us on May 23 for the webinar, “Ophthalmic Spotlight: Descemetorhexis and Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking.” During this session, attendees will hear two ophthalmologists present on two ophthalmic techniques that are currently being explored in sight restoration. Dr. Kathy Colby, from the University of Chicago, will discuss descemetorhexis, the background of the procedure, and patient outcomes. Then Dr. Parag Majmudar, from Chicago Cornea Consultants, will present on the corneal collagen cross-linking procedure including the current practice, research, and patient outcomes.

Register today to learn more about these two procedures by clicking here.

Cornea and Eye Banking Forum: Abstract Submission is Open!

EBAA and the Cornea Society are currently accepting abstracts for the 2018 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum. The Forum is jointly hosted by both organizations and will take place on October 26, in Chicago, Illinois.

This year’s program will feature:

      • Presentation of over 25 scientific abstracts
      • Four award presentations, including two award lectures
      • Two 30-minute symposia for topic-specific invited talks:

After hosting the Inaugural Forum in 2017, EBAA and Cornea Society are excited about the 2018 program and we hope you will join us this fall in Chicago. Abstract submission is currently open and registration for the forum will open in June. To submit an abstract to be considered for presentation, click here.
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EBAA March Madness Challenge: And the winner is….

Wow, college basketball was hot this March and Philadelphia continues to be the place watch! Villanova may have won the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but the real winner is Jonathan Bryant, from SightLife, for winning the 2018 EBAA March Madness Challenge.

Jonathan will receive one free EBAA webinar for his organization.  This year we were excited to welcome a large group of participants, including eye bankers and physicians. Thank you everyone who joined in on the fun and participated in this year’s challenge, we hope you will all join us next year. Congratulations, Jonathan!

Eye Bank News

      • In March 2018, VRL-Eurofins (VRL) acquired LABS, Inc.
      • On March 8, 2018, SightLife Surgical and AcuFocus announced the companies agreed to terms for SightLife to acquire the Kamra inlay from AcuFocus.
      • KeraLink New England has moved its office from Boston to Waltham, MA. Their new address is 300 Bear Hill Road, 2nd Floor Waltham, MA 02451.

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Upcoming Events

AATB 2018 Quality and Donor Eligibility Workshop
April 30 – May 2, 2018
Baltimore, MD

May Webinar: Ophthalmic Spotlight: Descemetorhexis and Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking
May 23, 2018
2 PM

57th Annual Meeting
June 6 – 9, 2018
Lowes Philadelphia Hotel
Philadelphia, PA

World Eye Bank Symposium
June 15, 2018

AOPO Annual Meeting
June 18 – 21, 2018
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
National Harbor, MD


Eye Donation Month
(Formerly National Eye Donor Month)
November 2018

58th Annual Meeting
June 5 – 8, 2019
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Scottsdale, AZ

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