January 2020 Issue of Insight

New Year, New Opportunities 



January 1, 2020.  The first day of a new year; a new decade.

You would think that would mean that you could start the year fresh, with all new challenges and last year’s concerns magically swept away.  But if you’re like me, you came back from the holiday to face the same piles of paperwork, the same emails waiting for responses, and the same projects calling for your time and attention.  What comes after 11:59:59 pm on December 31 isn’t magic, it’s just the continuity of our lives.

So it’s up to us, each one of us, to make that magic happen.  While we can’t simply delete the emails and recycle the paperwork that remain from 2019, we can look at those challenges from a fresh perspective and consider new ways to capitalize on them.  We can identify new approaches to our work and make an effort to set aside some time, even just a few hours a week, to work on a new project that will move our organizations forward.

EBAA offers a number of resources and tools to help you make this shift.  If you’re the executive director or a senior manager at your eye bank, I’d encourage you to consider attending our Eye Banker Leadership Program.  This two-day program focuses on initiating and sustaining change within your organization by developing your personal leadership, your staff leadership and your Board leadership skills.

Eye bank staff in other roles should check out the educational resources we offer on eyeLEARN, the online portal to all of EBAA’s educational offerings.  There you will find  webinars, documents, and conference recordings that will expand your knowledge and offer new perspectives on your work.

And everyone can look forward to our upcoming call for committee participation.  Most of EBAA’s committee terms end in June of even-numbered years, so we’ll be seeking committee service applications in March.  Participation on EBAA’s committees is more than a way to support the association; it enables you to work with eye bankers from across the country, introducing you to new ideas and expanding your network of colleagues.

So, while the turn of the year may not bring magical new beginnings, it can serve as the catalyst for changes that you make in your personal and professional lives, and in the life of your organization.  All it takes is a new perspective and a commitment to create something new.

New years, and new decades, don’t come along every day; it would be a shame to waste this one.

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Legislative and Regulatory Updates


The Focal Point: Advocacy and Legislative Update

EBAA reported on the recent legislative and regulatory developments in the December 3, 2019, and January 7, 2020 issues of The Focal Pointthe association’s bi-weekly advocacy and legislative update.

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

Stat Report Reminder

All 2019 monthly data through December 2019 should be submitted via EBAA Connect by January 31, 2020.

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Educational Programs and Events


2020 Technician Education Seminar: Two Weeks Left to Reserve Your Seat!

Calling all beginning eye bank staff! If you are looking for an educational experience that will dive into essential eye banking topics through lectures, hands-on training, networking, and breakout sessions, EBAA has the course for you.

Join your peers from across the country, February 20-22, for the 2020 Technician Education Seminar (TES). The hybrid seminar features online sessions, a live webinar, and an in-person event. The online sessions prior to the seminar allow attendees to view and listen to lectures from the comfort of their own eye bank and on their own schedule. The webinar enables the attendees to ask questions about the pre-seminar sessions and the in-person seminar provides attendees with a comprehensive and interactive educational experience where they will learn from knowledgeable faculty with over 108 years of combined experience in the profession.

Here is what past attendees have said about the TES:

  • “I had such a great time at TES! It was a great learning experience and was wonderful to meet other eye bankers from across the country.”
  • “The seminar touched on all aspects of eye banking which was great for me to be able to have a better understanding on everybody’s role in the eye bank.”
  • “I would encourage eye bank professionals outside of technicians and quality to participate in this program. I learned a tremendous amount that applies in my community relations role.”
  • “I appreciated having a chance to go over the online components at my own pace prior to the seminar.”

What will you take away from this year’s event? Registration for this annual favorite event ends January 31; sign up today!

Kick Off Your 2020 Professional Development with Low Early Bird Rates!

Hurry, the early bird registration rates for the EBAA Eye Banker Leadership Program end on January 31!

The leadership program will take place March 5-7 at the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, opening with an experiential learning opportunity at the Alamo 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 three themes:

  • Leading Your Eye Bank
  • Leading Your Staff
  • Leading Your Organization

This unique course has been designed for eye bank CEOs, Executive Directors, senior staff and management, and any eye bank professional looking to develop, strengthen, and hone their leadership skills.

Since staff can often benefit from attending a program together, group discounts are being offered to eye banks that register three or more individuals for the program. If multiple individuals from one eye bank 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 register using the paper registration form.

Start off 2020 by taking an active role in your professional development and register for the program today!

EBAA Scientific Symposium: Present Your Research at the Annual Meeting

EBAA is accepting abstract proposals for presentation consideration at the 2020 EBAA Scientific Symposium on Saturday, June 20, 2020. The Scientific Symposium, an annual favorite, will feature the latest research and developments in corneal transplantation and eye banking –  your research could be highlighted!

Travel grant opportunities are available for Medical Students, Residents, and Cornea Fellows whose papers are accepted for presentation. The Best Paper of Session Award, supported by the International Journal of Eye Banking will be awarded to an eye banker, Medical Student, Resident, or Cornea Fellow for the best paper of session. Last year, Samera Ahmad, a Medical Student at Emory University, received the Best Paper of Session Award for her presentation, “Ethics in Eye Banking: Understanding Attitudes Toward Industry Changes,” which is currently available for free on eyeLEARN.

The deadline to submit an abstract and grant request is February 10.  Share your research with the cornea and eye banking communities, and submit an abstract today!

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Certification Updates


Become a Certified Eye Bank Technician This Spring! Exam Application Available

EBAA is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Spring Certified Eye Bank Technician (CEBT) Exam.  Testing will take place April 11-25 at a testing center near you!

To sit for the exam, the candidate must have 6 months of eye bank experience with a bachelor’s degree, or 12 months of experience and a high school degree within the past two years. The candidate also needs to complete the Practical Performance Competency Verification, and submit a complete application with payment to the EBAA office. The early bird rate ends February 10, and all applications are due March 2.

The updated application and resources to prepare for the CEBT exam, including an outline, study guide, and practice exam can be found on the EBAA website. For information on the exam and to apply, click here.

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Scholarship, Fellowship, and Grant Information


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.

Last year, EBAA awarded grants to the following investigators for their proposals:

Martin de la Presa, MD, MPH, University of Minnesota/ MN Lions Cornea Research Program
Organosilane Coating of DMEK Injectors to Reduce Endothelial Cell Loss in Preloaded DMEK Grafts

Matthew Feng, MD, VisionFirst
A Resistance-Sensing Mechanical Injector for the Dissection of Descemet Membrane from Posterior Stroma

Roheena Kamyar, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
The Role of Antifungal Synergism for Prophylaxis in Corneal Storage Medium

Darryl Nishimura, PhD, Iowa Lions Eye Bank
Influence of Corneal Storage Media on the Health of Donor Corneal Endothelial Cells

Christopher Sales, MD, MPH, Weill Cornell Medical College
Efficacy of Amphotericin B in Preventing Fungal Growth in Corneal Preservation Media After Frozen Storage

Roholah Sharifi, PhD, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Covalent Functionalization of PMMA Surface with Gelatin to Enhance its Biocompatibility and Adhesion to Corneal Tissue

Maxime Ruiz, PhD, Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA
Identifying Specific Limbal Epithelial Stem Cells (LESC) Extracellular MicroRNAs for Improved Characterization of Cellular Therapy Product to Treat Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD)

In 2020, EBAA will award multiple grants up to $7,500 each. Researchers looking to fund pilot projects, well-defined short-term protocols, or initial studies directed toward new research initiatives are encouraged to apply. Secure funding for your research; apply today!


2020 Jachin Misko Memorial Scholarship Recipient Selected

EBAA would like to congratulate Rebecca Hubbs for receiving the 2020 Jachin Misko Memorial Scholarship in Technical Advancement of Eye Banking. Rebecca is a Processing Technician at Lions VisionGift in Portland, Oregon. The selection committee was impressed by Rebecca’s work at the eye bank and her personal statement describing her passion for eye banking and why she wants to further her education by attending the TES. Josh Galloway, Vice President of Laboratory Services of Lions VisionGift, stated, “Rebecca has been extremely dedicated to helping others in every department she has worked in and proactively seeks out new areas for learning and opportunities for growth within her own department as well as assisting other departments. She is an excellent example of a team player demonstrating that it takes all staff working together to restore sight.”

The scholarship, generously sponsored by Saving Sight, will provide for Rebecca to attend the Technician Education Seminar, February 20-22, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. EBAA looks forward to welcoming Rebecca at the TES next month. Be sure to read her personal account from the TES in an upcoming issue of Insight!

Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship: Deadline Extended to Jan. 24

The deadline for applications for the 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship in International Eye Banking has been extended to Friday, January 24.

The Fellowship 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 in New York, New York. Staff and Medical Directors from international eye banks are encouraged to apply.

Do you know someone outside the U.S. who might be interested? Please pass this along!

We are also looking for individuals to serve on the Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship Selection Committee. Participants will review the applications and select a final candidate as the 2020 Fellow. This volunteer opportunity is ideal for someone looking to get involved with EBAA. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 21. Submit an application today!

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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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Transplant Games of America, The Meadowlands, NJ, July 17-22, 2020

Transplant Games is a festival-style event for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. Competition events are open to living donors, organ transplant recipients, bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients. More than an athletic event, the Donate Life Transplant Games highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients.

Activities at the Transplant Games include but are not limited to:

  • Athletics
    • Track & Field
    • Basketball
    • Bowling
    • Cycling
    • Golf
    • Tennis
    • Swimming
    • Many more…
  • Dancing
  • Poker
  • Cornhole
  • Trivia

If you know a corneal transplant recipient who may be interested in participating, please spread the word! For registration information, click here.

Association Listserv Chatter: What You’ve Missed!

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

Technician Listserv:

  • Sterile jars with 95% ethanol for scleral preservation
  • Policy related to Leptomeningeal metastases

Quality Assurance Listserv:

  • DRAI – language regarding a donor who has turned 12 but is not yet 13 years old

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.

2020: The Year of Perfect Vision! 

2020 is an exciting time in our world since it correlates so directly with our mission to restore sight across the globe! Because 2020 is the year of perfect vision, it’s also the perfect year to register to be a donor. Stay tuned for details about an on-going, year-long campaign to encourage registration.


Call for International Journal of Eye Banking (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: colleen@restoresight.org

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Eye Bank News

  • Michelle Bonnier is now the primary administrator and point of contact for Lions Eye Bank, Calgary





New on EBAA Website: “Members in the News” Page

In an effort to highlight the fantastic media placements of member eye banks, and to further amplify your mission and messaging, we’ve created a “Members in the News” page on our website.

We have Google alerts set to pick up any media activity – but they aren’t perfect! Please send us any media appearances you’d like included. And please consider giving us a “heads up” when you know of a story in the works. We’re eager to share and support your good work!

Media coverage can be sent to our Communications Manger, Colleen Bayus.

EBAA Happenings


EEBA Meeting in Germany

Right now, EBAA President & CEO, Kevin Corcoran, and Director of Education, Stacey Gardner, are attending the European Eye Bank Association (EEBA) Annual Meeting in Hannover, Germany.

Keep an eye on social media (@RestoreSight) to follow their trip, and expect a recap and details from the experience in next month’s Insight.


Annual Meeting: 2021 and 2022 Dates and Cities Announced

Mark your calendars! Cities and dates have been selected for the 2021 & 2022 Annual Meetings:

  • June 9 – June 12, 2021: Kansas City, MO
  • June 1 – June 4, 2022: Baltimore, MD


Career Center and Jobs Postings

A reminder to check out the Career Center on the EBAA website. It’s an excellent resource for both job seekers and employers. It includes:

  • Career coaching
  • Resume Writing
  • Reference Checking
  • Career Learning Center
  • Job Alerts


Upcoming Events / Deadlines / Save the Date