August 2019 Issue of Insight

EBAA Board: Working Weeknds for You


Eye banking is not a 9-to-5 job; you get calls after midnight, on weekends, during your kid’s birthday party, etc.  And when the phone rings, you answer, because the donor family’s needs, and those of a prospective cornea recipient, take precedence over your convenience.

So too for the EBAA Board of Directors, who fit their volunteer obligations around their roles as eye bankers and physicians.  Which is how they found themselves in a hotel conference room in Chicago last weekend, for an orientation and planning meeting.  This annual meeting is designed to ensure that all Board members (particularly those who have been newly elected) understand their roles and responsibilities to the association.  It also serves to create a cohesive unified Board that strategically plans for EBAA’s future and for that of the entire profession.

This year, discussion centered around EBAA’s need to more effectively reach out to both eye bankers and physicians to provide products and services that help them succeed in their work.  While this sounds pretty elementary, the secret isn’t in the concept but in the execution.  To this end, the Board developed six initiatives, each  led by a different Board member, to develop tactics to achieve our goals.  Each initiative will have a steering committee composed of Board, staff and EBAA members. Progress will be shared and discussed within the Board monthly.

While it is premature to share most of the details about these initiatives now, one central theme is: finding ways to communicate more effectively with members—listening to your needs and expectations, and actively responding.  This may lead to changes in our communications tools, our House of Delegates, and other outreach programs.  Please watch for these changes and offer your feedback and suggestions.

Just as we’re improving our service to you, perhaps your eye bank should consider ways to better serve your surgeons and recovery partners.  How can you hear more clearly what they need – particularly the needs they don’t express – and deliver service that not only satisfies their needs but surpasses their expectations?  While challenging,  it’s the key to strong and trusting partnerships.

Comings and Going
Two weeks ago, EBAA welcomed Colleen Bayus to the staff as our new Communications Manager.  Colleen comes to us with over a decade of experience in communications and media relations and a Masters in Mass Communication & Media Studies from San Diego State.  Four days into her tenure at EBAA, she was thrown into the Board orientation and planning meeting, where much of the discussion centered around improving how we get information from, and give it to, our members. So she has her work cut out for her.

Unfortunately, at the same time, we had to bid adieu to Janet Ridgely, our Director of Meetings.  Janet is retiring to enjoy fruits of her career, and we wish her nothing but the best.
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Legislative and Regulatory Updates



EBAA reported on recent legislative and regulatory developments in the July 30, issue of Focal Point, the association’s bi-weekly advocacy and legislative update.

For past issues, please visit the archive in the “Members Only” section of the website.
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Educational Programs and Events


EBAA is Headed to the City by the Bay!

Although we are in the middle of summer, it is time to talk about the Fall Meeting. This year’s meetings will take place October 10-11 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. As you prepare for your trip to the Golden Gate, here are the details for the EBAA meetings that will be held in San Francisco this Fall.

Cornea and Eye Banking Forum- Early Bird Rates End August 28!
With the presentation of all new information and research, the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, hosted by EBAA and the Cornea Society, continues to be a favorite among corneal surgeons and eye bank professionals. The one-day educational event will take place on Friday, October 11. Early Bird registration ends August 28, and prices will increase!

The 2019 Forum will feature:

  • Over 25 scientific abstract presentations
  • Two 40-minute symposia on the “Future of Eye Banking and Corneal Transplantation” featuring invited speakers
  • The Paton Lecture delivered by the 2019 Paton Award Recipient, Dr. Shahzad Mian
  • Four award presentations, including the Best Paper of Session.

 Fall Leadership Meeting
The Fall Leadership Meeting will take place Thursday, October 10, and the Accreditation Board, Medical Advisory Board, and Board of Directors will all convene to discuss and address the latest topics and issues that are brought before them. Registration is complimentary but is required.

Hotel Information
The events will take place at the Palace Hotel. Please note that EBAA does not have a room block for this meeting and all hotel reservations will need to be made through the AAO housing bureau.

MAB Meeting: Live Audio Broadcast
If you are unable to attend the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) Meeting in person on Thursday, October 10, at 1 PM Pacific, you can register for the live audio broadcast. CEBTs may earn up to 2 CEUs for attending the entire session. New this year, EBAA is offering the opportunity for single viewer registration, as well as group registration.

Run for Vision
The 34th Annual Run for Vision will be held on Sunday, October 13 in Golden Gate Park. Registration will open soon. If you will be in the San Francisco area, grab your running shoes and join us this 5k run/walk!


The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) and Accreditation Board (AB) have opened a call for agenda items for the 2019 EBAA Fall Leadership Meeting.  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 (Jennifer Li, MD,and Eric Meinecke), no later than Friday, August 30, 2019.
  • 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 (Chris Stoegerand Christopher Ketcherside, MD), no later than Friday, September 20, 2019.
  • 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.

eyeLEARN: Two Upcoming Webinars and One New On-Demand Session

EBAA’s online education portal, eyeLEARN, features upcoming webinars, on-demand learning, and free resources. eyeLEARN has two webinars open for registration and a huge selection of on-demand sessions. Check out the educational opportunities below and register for one or all of them today!

Ocular Research Tissue: From the Eye Bank to the Researcher
August 28 at 1 PM Eastern
During this session, the speakers will discuss ocular research tissue and the opportunities that are becoming available to eye banks, how to perform dissections, and how to work with researchers to fulfill specific needs. Whether your organization is already involved in this space, or you are considering offering new services related to research tissue, this is the session for you. Register for this session today!

Keeping Track of Your Training Program: Best Practices in QA
September 11 at 1 PM Eastern
A strong quality assurance program keeps track of staff training procedures from the initial training to competency determination to annual reviews and ongoing training. Two experienced quality assurance professionals will discuss best practices for keeping track of training programs and procedures and how to keep electronic and paper systems and records up to date. Join us to learn more about how you can keep track of your training program!

Communication That Matters: How Compassionate Language Can Increase Authorizations

If you missed last week’s presentation, we have you covered. During this very informative session, three experienced eye bank professionals discussed the importance of using compassionate language during the authorization call with the next of kin and provided tips for preparing for the call, conducting the call, training staff, providing feedback, and much more!

With all of the wonderful information, tips and tools that were provided, this session was a favorite amongst attendees! Tell your call center and donor development coworkers about this session today! Purchase the on-demand session, available only on eyeLEARN.


Slit Lamp Microscopy Seminar: Limited Space

Registration is open for the Slit Lamp Microscopy Seminar, taking place October 24 – 25, at Lions Gift of Sight in St. Paul Minnesota

Evaluating corneal tissue with a slit lamp microscope is an important part of eye banking and ensures that safe and healthy tissue is provided for transplant. Through presentations and hours of tissue evaluation with experienced faculty, this unique seminar will provide attendees with information and experience in slit lamp microscopy that will help them to successfully and confidently evaluate tissue.

The early bird registration rate ends on August 28, and registration closes on October 14. Space is limited to 20 attendees; with a maximum of two individuals from one eye bank. Register today to reserve your seat at this year’s interactive educational event!

2019 Fall CEBT Exam: Early Bird Rates End in Two Weeks!

EBAA is currently accepting applications for the Fall Certified Eye Bank Technician (CEBT) Exam, taking place October 12 – 26, 2019.

EBAA Exam Committee recently updated many of the exam materials, including the application, the content outline, the study guide, an exam preparation webinar, and the exam.

International exam applications are due tomorrow, while the US and Canada applications are due September 4. Rates will increase on August 23. Visit the CEBT Exam page for more information and to access a variety of updated resources.

Take the next step in your career; submit an application today!


Eye Bank Needed to Host the 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellow

EBAA is looking for a host eye bank for the 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship in International Eye Banking. The 2020 Fellowship will bring an individual to the United States for a two-week period during June to attend the EBAA Annual Meeting and “intern” for the following week at an EBAA member eye bank.

This is a great opportunity to share your organization’s knowledge and expertise with an individual from an international eye bank. To read the impact the Fellowship had on the 2019 recipient, Celia Regina Malveste Ito, read her personal account here.

Applications to host the 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellow are due September 6. If your eye bank would like to have a direct impact on an international eye bank, submit an application today!
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Patricia Aiken O’Neill Scholarship


Submitted by Joy Fragola

When I was first approached to work at Southern Eye Bank, 15 years ago, I had to ask, “What is an eye bank?” Throughout the years of working in the eye banking community, the best definition of an eye bank was demonstrated this year at the 2019 EBAA Annual Meeting in June.

Eye banks have a mission to save and restore sight through corneal recovery and transplantation.  That is the basic definition.  The complete definition includes building community, caring for our donor families and recipients, clinical excellence and innovation, and working collaboratively to support organ, eye, and tissue donation.

This year, as the recipient of the Patricia Aiken-O’Neill scholarship I saw first-hand how eye banks across the country work together to achieve individual and collective goals.

Lafayette, Louisiana is the home of my satellite office of Southern Eye Bank. While connected to our SEB team, this location has necessitated a standard of individual work and focus that may not be present in a central office.

To be an active part of a large group of people working together for a common goal was a true gift. I was introduced to people who share a passion for helping others and who possess the willingness to share knowledge, insight, and best practices.

Attending the conference was so much more than just a learning experience. It helped me connect to others in a way not possible from a distance. It gave me contacts and offers of support that were unavailable or rather, unknown before. It offered me the opportunity to co-present at a break-out session on collaboration with our OPO that I helped author. It gave me the chance to hear experts on relationship building, media exposure, and creating a culture that supports our mission and our goals.

When we share information about corneal donation, we tell people that donation will affect us all. We share that donation will become part of our individual and collective story, changing the world one person at a time. And it is true. At every presentation offered, whether to nurses, students, or community, there is someone who has been affected by donation. We all have a story to share, a connection that speaks from our heart and holds hope of a better future because of donation.

The story I most often share when speaking about donation belongs to my brother Michael. While in his early 50s Michael was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After several years of treatments, remissions, and reoccurrences, Michael left upstate New York for Houston and a clinic that specializes in genetic treatments for brain cancer. While there, Michael had a heart attack and died. His corneas gave sight to two people in Egypt, a country of sunshine, pyramids, and sand, and often considered to be the cradle of civilization. Michael was kind, funny, iconoclastic, energetic, generous, and focused. He was also a professional photographer. Although I expect that we will never meet his recipients, whenever I speak about Michael and his gift, I still see sunshine. And I smile.

So, while I know that all we say about donation is true personally and professionally, attending this conference let me experience this as a collective truth. To see the number of people attending, to feel the energy that surrounded the conference, and to hear the stories and experiences that were shared, reaffirmed for me that the impact of an eye bank is more than the gift of sight. Eye banks help the people of the world connect one-to-one and truly offer a positive focus through loss. I am honored to be even a small part of this community.

Thank you for this opportunity and this gift.



November is Eye Donation Month, and this year’s theme is, “The Power of You”.  We’ve started to add promotional materials to the website for you to use and share. Continue to check the site for updates, including a donor family story video. Please submit any stories you’d like included.  If you have any questions, please email Colleen Bayus, Communications Manager, for information.


2020 Leonard Heise Award: One Month Left to Submit a Nomination!

The deadline to submit a nomination for the 2020 Leonard Heise Award is September 9. The Leonard Heise Award is presented annually to a non-physician eye banker in recognition of outstanding devotion and service to EBAA’s mission and development.

If you know of an eye bank professional who has made a tremendous impact on the eye banking community and sight restoration, nominate that person today. To submit a nomination for the Heise Award, click here.


OPTN Comment Period is Open

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) connects all professionals involved in the U.S. donation and transplantation system.  Their open comment period permits interested parties and members of the public to provide feedback on proposals related to organ/eye/tissue donation.

While none of the proposals directly pertain to ocular tissues or recovery, as active members of the donation and transplantation community, eye banks are encouraged to participate in the process.  Please visit OPTN’s website to review and comment on the proposals; the cycle will close on October 2, 2019.


EBAA Products Available for Purchase

Did you know that EBAA has member packing tape and corneal blindness glasses available for purchase?

The member packing tape allows eye banks to ship tissue with tape that clearly identifies the tissue as being provided by a member of the Eye Bank Association of America. Corneal blindness glasses are a great teaching tool for eye banks that do any type of community awareness and education.

Take advantage of the EBAA resources available to you; purchase tape or glasses today!



Here are some of the topics that you may have missed on the listservs this past month:

Technician Listserv:

  • Performing DMEK under a laminar flowhood as opposed to a sterile operating room
  • The Altaire Eye Wash Recall
  • Pre-recovery donor screening tools
  • Ethanol and sclera containers
  • Shipping containers

Quality Assurance Listserv:

  • The criteria regarding drowning deaths

If you are interested in joining the technician, quality assurance, donor development, finance, or executive director listserv, please email Genevieve Casaceli. All EBAA and Paton Society Members are able to join the listservs. Please note the Executive Director listserv is invite only and specifically for Executive Directors.


Eye Bank News

  • Rose Djukic is the new Manager for Ophthalmology Clinics and Eye Bank for Misericordia Eye Bank
  • Michael Simao, CEBT, is the new Executive Director for Hawaii Lions Eye Bank & Makana Foundation
  • Darrell Fisher is the new Director of Eye Bank for Nevada Donor Network

Upcoming Events

Webinar: “Ocular Research Tissue: From the Eye Bank to the Researcher”
Wednesday, August 28
1 PM Eastern

Webinar: “Keeping Track of Your Training Program: Best Practices in QA”
Wednesday, September 11
1 PM Eastern

2019 EBAA Fall Leadership Meeting 
Thursday, October 10
San Francisco, CA

2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum 
Friday, October 11
San Francisco, CA

2019 Slit Lamp Microscopy Seminar 
October 24 – 25
St. Paul, MN

Save the Date 

AAO Annual Meeting
October 12 – 15
San Francisco, CA

DLA Annual Meeting
October 21 – 24
Memphis, TN

Eye Donation Month
November 2019

2020 EBAA Annual Meeting
June 17 – 20
Dallas, TX