December 2019 Issue of Insight

A Good Quarterback is Just the Start



When I read this at the start of the football season, I saved it, knowing there were ways to apply it to eye banking.  As we get closer to making New Year Resolutions, I thought it might be applicable to your planning process for 2020 and beyond:

It is easy for a team to let its strength—a good, young quarterback—become a weakness once it assumes that having such a quarterback will solve every problem. Organizations that have the plan but not the quarterback can succeed. But teams with a good quarterback and no plan cannot succeed long term. A star quarterback should not be the end of a process, but the beginning, when the team starts its work to build around him. No one wins the Super Bowl because they drafted a good quarterback. They win a Super Bowl because they drafted a quarterback and then figured out what to do next.

It’s wonderful when your eye bank develops or acquires a unique “quarterback”, whether that is a great customer service rep, a proprietary tool or service, or a novel way of reaching clients.  But unless you develop a plan that maximizes the advantage of that “quarterback”, all you have is a great asset that’s being underutilized. It’s like a high-performance sports car in bumper to bumper traffic; sure, you can commute to work in a Ferrari, but that’s not what it was designed for. So, as you look forward to 2020, think about your “quarterbacks”; what are the people or assets that you possess; personally, as a department, or as an eye bank, that enable you to provide the best possible tissue or deliver the best possible service?  Then take an honest assessment of whether you’ve developed a plan to really utilize those people and those assets. 

  • Have you empowered your staff to think creatively, challenge assumptions and take initiative?
  • Have you cross-trained your staff and changed your processes to take a strength in one area of your operations and spread it across other areas?
  • Have you told your partners (surgeons, hospitals, coroners/MEs, fellow eye banks and other recovery agencies) what you do best and shared that strength to improve their operations, thus enhancing your relationship?
  • Have you asked those same partners to share their strengths to improve other aspects of your operations?

A “good young quarterback” can be a rare and valuable asset, but only if you play to its strengths.  Now’s the time to build a plan to put it to work before that quarterback gets old, or worse, leaves your team to find a new situation where it can truly excel.

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Message from the Chair 

If you want to know how eye banking was practiced in the past, read the Eye Banking section in Fred Brightbill’s textbook Corneal Surgery. If you want to know how eye banking is practiced now, read the International Journal of Eye Banking. And if you want to know how eye banking is practiced in the future, get involved with EBAA, its committees and programs, and help write the future.

Many thanks to all who participated in the EBAA Fall Leadership Meeting in San Francisco prior to the AAO Annual Meeting. As usual, the annual Cornea and Eye Banking Forum had a plethora of outstanding scientific papers on a wide variety of keratoplasty and eye banking topics. Two special symposia were convened by the program committee, one on Management of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency and Corneal Stromal Opacification, and a second on Management of Corneal Endothelial DysfunctionThe possibility of endothelial cell regeneration without the need of transplanted donor cells got everyone’s attention and is an intriguing topic for our profession to watch in the future. The Best Paper of Session Award, sponsored by the International Journal of Eye Banking, was presented to Schruti Sinha from Boston for Prevalence of Persistent Epithelial Defects in Chronic Graft vs Host Disease. The highlight of the session was Shahzad Mian’s presentation of his 2019 Paton Lecture, Defining Competency for Corneal Surgeons: Fellowship and Beyond.

The much anticipated Paton Luncheon, splendidly narrated by Marian Macsai, showcased an informal discussion of multiple topics of concern to corneal surgeons. This luncheon is the only venue of its kind where corneal surgeons and medical directors can speak candidly and openly about complications, problems, and preferences in a non-judgemental educational forum and have open and honest discussion in front of world leaders in our profession. Congratulations to Steve Kaufman from Minneapolis, who was announced as EBAA’s 2020 R. Townley Paton Award receipient.

2020 will be a big year for all of ophthalmology as the date itself denotes the importance we place on good vision. This time of year is ideal for reflection and to be thankful for the opportunities we have to contribute to sight restoration through the procedures that we perform or support, the comforting of bereaved families who make the gift of sight possible, and the opportunity to participate in the future of our profession. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to contribute so much for the betterment of the communities where we live.

William Osler, considered by most to be the father of modern surgery, said “We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.”  Thank you all for what you do. It is a pleasure to serve as Chair of the EBAA, and I look forward to 2020. I hope to see you in Dallas.

Happy Holidays!

Woody Van Meter, MD

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Educational Programs and Events


2020 Technician Education Seminar: Early Bird Rates End Tomorrow

Hurry, there is just one day left to register for the 2020 Technician Education Seminar (TES) at low early bird rates!

The 2020 TES will take place February 20-22 at the Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The TES features online and in-person sessions on the practical, technical, and scientific aspects of eye banking. Through lectures, demonstrations, case studies, breakout sessions and interactive components, the experienced faculty will lead attendees through a comprehensive learning experience.

Take advantage of the low early bird rates; register today!

Learn About the Recent Altaire Recall on the December Webinar!
Wednesday, December 18, 1 PM Eastern

Join us on Wednesday, December 18, for the webinar, Total Recall: Compliance without Calamity. During this session, speakers will discuss the recent Altaire Pharmaceuticals recall and the regulatory, logistical, and operational aspects of implementing the recall. Attendees will learn more about the recall of critical supplies, what steps should be taken when similar situations arise, and how two eye banks responded to the recall to ensure the safety of tissue and the continuation of eye bank processes.

Attend this session to learn more about how other organizations navigated the recall and how to prepare for an unexpected recall in the future.

eyeLEARN: Access the Annual Meeting, Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, and Free Resources!

The eyeLEARN catalog is continuously expanding with new educational opportunities for you to view anytime and anywhere. eyeLEARN currently features the 2019 Annual Meeting, the 2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, and a variety of free sessions and resources.

Explore eyeLEARN today to access hours of on-demand learning!

Grow Your Leadership Skills at the 2020 Eye Bank Leadership Program!

Join EBAA and your eye banking peers in San Antonio for the EBAA Eye Banker Leadership Program. The program will take place March 5-7, opening with an experiential learning opportunity and followed by a day and a half of educational sessions that will provide you with information and tools to accelerate your professional and personal growth.

The tentative program can be found here, and is structured around four themes:

  • Leading Your Eye Bank
  • Leading Your Staff
  • Leading Your Board
  • Individual Skills Development

The program is designed for the following eye bank professionals:

  • CEOs / Executive Directors
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Quality Assurance Director
  • Hospital/Donor/Community Relations Directors
  • Technical Directors
  • …anyone with a leadership role in your eye bank

Attending the Leadership Program is a great way for teams to learn and grow together. To encourage staff members to attend together, we are offering discounts to groups of three or more individuals who register from one eye bank. If multiple individuals register, the third registrant will receive a 33% discount and the fourth or more will receive a 50% discount. To access this discount pricing, please submit the paper registration form. Discount cannot be applied through registering online.

Take a step in strengthening your leadership skills and register for the program today!

Present Your Research to the Eye Bank Community!

EBAA is accepting abstracts for presentation consideration for the 2020 EBAA Scientific Symposium, taking place during the Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 20, 2020. The session will highlight the latest research and developments in eye banking and corneal transplantation. A best paper of session award will be given for the best paper by an eye banker, medical student, resident, or fellow by the International Journal of Eye Banking. The award includes $1,000 and a personalized plaque. Travel grants are available for medical students, residents, and fellows. Abstract proposals due February 10.

Share your research with the eye bank community and submit an abstract for presentation consideration.

FDA and the Changing Paradigm for HCT/P Regulation Conference
April 14-15, Washington, D.C.  

Attend the 16th Annual “FDA and the Changing Paradigm for HCT/P Regulation” conference sponsored by PHARMA Conference Inc., and EBAA.

The two-day conference includes an FDA report on the review process for communicable disease kits, provides Office and Division updates, and shares compliance updates and inspectional observations.

Industry will provide insights through presentations and workshops that cover auditing success, complying with labeling, advertising, and other indications of manufacturers’ objective intent, tracking HCT/Ps, risk management, the quality chain for patient outcomes, and HCT/P deviation reporting.

Several individuals from EBAA member eye banks will serve as moderators including:

  • Patricia Dahl, The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration
  • Elsa Arteaga Torres, Eversight
  • Linda Martin, Mid-America Transplant
  • Jennifer DeMatteo, EBAA Director of Regulations & Standards

EBAA has approved this activity for 11.75 CEUs.

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Certification Updates


CEBTs Expiring in 2019: Deadline to Recertify is December 31

The individuals listed here are Certified Eye Bank Technicians (CEBTs) whose status will expire on December 31, 2019. If there is anyone on this list who is no longer in eye banking or who should not be on this list, please notify Genevieve Casaceli.

If you have met the requirements to recertify, simply fill out the application and submit it with payment. To view CEUs online, log into the Members’ Portal, and select “My Professional Development” from the side menu. If you still need CEUs, check out the on-demand sessions available on eyeLEARN including the 2019 Annual Meeting or the 2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum. Submit your application today to maintain your status as a CEBT!

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Scholarship, Fellowship, and Grant Information


Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship: Now Accepting Applications

The 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship in International Eye Banking will bring an individual to the United States for 2 weeks in June 2020 to attend the 2020 EBAA Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, and intern for one week at The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration. Please share this information with international eye bank professionals who may be interested. The deadline to apply is January 13.

Fund Your Research with the Pilot Research Grant

Fund your next pilot or short term protocol study with the 2020 EBAA Pilot Research Grant! The application period is currently open, and proposals are due March 23, 2020.

Each year, EBAA awards grants to various individuals in the research, ophthalmic and eye banking communities to provide support for projects specifically concerned with issues directly related to eye banking and/or corneal transplantation. Researchers looking to fund pilot projects, well-defined short-term protocols, or initial studies directed toward new research initiatives are encouraged to apply.  Multiple grants up to $7,500 each will be awarded. Apply today!

EyeFind Grants

EBAA has partnered with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) creating a new grant program that provides financial support to researchers in need of human eye tissue for their projects. 

The EyeFind Research Grants offer up to $5,000 per project to underwrite the cost of human eye tissue in research advancing the field of ocular research, including cornea transplantation.

EyeFind is the first searchable online database allowing researchers to select criteria they’re looking for in human eye tissue and eye banks with tissue that match that criteria.

Grant applications will be accepted from January 1 – April 1, 2020, with the first round being disbursed by June 2020. Grants have been made possible through sponsorship from BrightFocus Foundation and with additional funding support through EBAA and ARVO. For more information and to apply, click here.

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Paton Society Members: Renew by December 31!

Attention physicians! If you are a current member of the R. Townley Paton Society and have not yet renewed your membership, your benefits will end on December 31.

The Paton Society membership provides individuals with these important benefits:

  • Member pricing on all EBAA events
  • Eligibility to serve on EBAA committees
  • Various speaking opportunities
  • The Annual Statistical Report on Eye Banking and Corneal Transplantation,
  • Eligibility to apply for EBAA research grants
  • Access to the EBAA Medical Standards
  • Updates on standards, regulations, and advisories
  • Member pricing on eyeLEARN and access to member only resources
  • Much, much more!

To renew your membership, login to, select “Transactions” from the left side menu and apply payment to the open invoice. If you are a physician interested in joining the Paton Society or have questions about your current membership, please contact Genevieve Casaceli.

Looking for a Unique Holiday Gift? Run for Vision T-shirts to the Rescue! 

We still have a few Run for Vision running shirts available for purchase. Consider giving one this holiday season as a reminder of the importance of eye and cornea donation!

CORE Awarded 2019 Baldridge Award 

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), was awarded the 2019 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award recognizing exemplary “drive for innovative solutions to complex challenges, visionary leadership, and operational excellence.” It is the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that at U.S. organization can receive.

Congratulations to everyone at CORE – this honor will have incredible benefits for the organization and the organ, eye, and tissue recipients you serve!

Eye Bank News


  • Kentucky Lions Eye Bank has relocated
  • Advancing Sight Network has renovated
  • Jackie Warn is Acting Executive Director / contact for ocular services at Nevada Donor Network 

Call for International Journal of Eye Baking (IJEB) Articles

We are accepting submissions for the next edition of the International Journal of Eye Banking – the first and only journal dedicated exclusively to eye banking.

Manuscripts must be original contributions and not previously published, with one exception: We will consider a manuscript if the abstract only has been published in the proceedings of a conference and/or as a poster presentation at a conference.

The manuscript cannot be under consideration by any other publisher. For more information and submission requirements, click here.

Please submit your work for consideration by Friday, January 31. Questions? Email:

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EBAA Happenings

That’s a Wrap! 2019 Eye Donation Month

Thank you for participating in Eye Donation Month, “The Power of YOU,” this year!

Over the course of November, we:

  • Made 40 Facebook posts (reaching 30,000 people collectively)
  • Sent 180 tweets or re-tweets (19.6k impressions)
  • Posted to Instagram 22 times (reaching 3,493 people collectively)
  • Posted or shared 60 Instagram stories

Up against a “preoccupied” media environment, roughly a dozen Eye Donation Month stories were placed in television, radio, and online outlets.

We received and posted photos for the “Eye Donation Month is Everywhere” social media campaign from all over the country and around the world, including the Grand Canyon, Helsinki, Finland, and Disney World! Thanks to all the eye bankers and physicians who took their Eye Donation Month buttons on their travel and around their communities to spread the word about eye and cornea donation. We can’t wait to see where the buttons appear next year!

Hopefully the marketing tool kit we put together was helpful for you and your eye bank. We look forward to getting your feedback about what you liked, what can use improvement, and how we can make Eye Donation Month bigger and better for 2020. Kindly take a minute to fill out this brief survey so we can improve for next year.

We’d love to share and spread the word about your successes – if you have programs, events or marketing efforts that went well, please email:   Moving forward, we have lots of new ideas to implement throughout the year to keep Eye Donation Month top of mind. Stay tuned!

Happy Holidays!

The EBAA office will be closed December 25 – January 1. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season, and a very happy new year!

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