July / August 2020 Issue of Insight

Message from the President

What Did You Learn Today?

In the early days of COVID, my daughter Carolan and I developed a routine piece of banter.  With her home from college to finish the Spring semester via Zoom, and me working from our basement, we would often meet in the kitchen when I re-emerged to make my lunch.

“How’s school?, she’d ask me earnestly.
“Just fine, thanks; how’s work for you?”, I’d reply.

Granted, this isn’t Shakespeare, or even Abbott & Costello doing “Who’s on First”, but it acknowledged the absurdity of our shared experience of doing what we’re supposed to do in places we’re not supposed to do it.

This afternoon, when we did our “bit” again, I was amused, but also drawn to the question at the top of this column. If I treat my job as is the equivalent of school, then what am I learning on a daily basis? Am I growing personally and professionally, as I expect my children to grow and learn when they’re at school? And if I expect to learn from my job, how can I structure my time to do the work that’s required by EBAA while also exposing myself to topics and issues I might not otherwise experience?

Since I only started down this path a few hours ago, I don’t have answers to these questions yet, but I do think they’re worth considering. Like me, many EBAA members have been practicing their professions for many years. When that’s the case, it can be easy to fall back on past experience to respond to a new situation, and to get tunnel-vision about the types of on-going education and training one needs.

It may be clichéd to call these “unprecedented times,” but the truth is that we’ve never seen conditions quite like this before. This suggests that drawing on “the same old tricks” might not be the best way to respond to brand new challenges and opportunities.

So perhaps a reasonable approach would be to follow the example of our children, and go back to school, even if it’s from home or the office, and to ask yourself each day “What did I learn today?”

Message from the Chair

These are times no one would have predicted. Except back in 2012 during an EBAA strategic planning session, the idea of a pandemic was mentioned during a wide-angle view of what might challenge eye banking in the future. But the conversation moved on to more realistic issues at the time. What seemed far-fetched then has come to pass and we are getting a bird’s eye view of the challenges eye banking faces during this COVID-19 outbreak.

As the pandemic moves across regions of our country and our eye banking community is being affected in myriad ways, it may seem difficult to find the positives, yet they do exist.

Entering the sixth month of coping with COVID-19, our eye banking community has persevered to do its best to remain viable; to serve the needs of patients and surgeons even if only on an emergency basis, when elective surgeries are on hold. Keeping eye banks functioning and eye bank staff safe are what is first and foremost.

During this time, the EBAA, has worked diligently on our behalf to help each and every member in as many ways it can, from providing information and guidance for obtaining financial assistance to adjusting timelines for dues payments and extending accreditation periods. It has conducted monthly surveys of our members to be aware of any changes caused by COVID-19 and to ascertain how EBAA may be of service.

It was no small feat that EBAA conducted the 2020 Annual Meeting in June as scheduled, albeit virtually, and with close to 1,200 registrants. A silver lining was discovered. We will continue to collaborate and seek new information and benefit from research and innovation as this first-of-its-kind annual EBAA meeting bore out.

Individual members are finding ways to continue to function with staff working remotely, utilizing virtual platforms such as Zoom to conduct meetings, and establishing new methods of communication such as live video links for observing procedures. Many of which may linger and change the way we work long after the spread of COVID-19 has dissipated.

It was profoundly fortunate that our governance structure was reconfigured in 2018 to a smaller, 11-member Board, enabling us to be both nimble and strategic. The Board, as a result, has been able to meet monthly, working on behalf of the membership in more immediate ways and developing programs in a timely fashion.

The new structure has made it possible, even in these demanding and stressful times, to be forward thinking on behalf of our members and be more strategic in addressing the near future in ways that better shape the more distant future. Going forward, the Board will focus on ways for eye bankers and physicians to collaborate; promote member eye banks’ expertise and proficiency in serving their communities and expand on EBAA member services providing valuable programs that enable growth and stability.

As your incoming Chair, I am truly proud of our strength and determination as a profession and as an association of eye banks. These are indeed difficult times, but we are a collective dedicated to serving our surgeons, transplant recipients and donor families.  I am honored to serve the EBAA membership as we work together to accomplish that mission.

Please stay safe and healthy.

Noël Mick
EBAA Chair

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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 June 23, July 7, and July 21 issues of The 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.

Medical Advisory Board Releases Important Documents

The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) has released several documents, including a Medical Advisory which highlights standard changes, the updated Medical Standards, which go into effect September 1, 2020, and the minutes from the June 20, 2020 meeting. The EBAA Procedures Manual has been updated to include the new quality assurance procedures.

These documents can be found below and are also available in the Members’ Section of the EBAA website under Medical Advisory Board:

Accreditation Board Releases Important Documents

The Accreditation Board has released the minutes from its June 18, 2020 meeting, the updated Accreditation Policy and Procedures, and the updated Accreditation Status List.

Below, please find links to these documents:

These documents are also available in the Members’ Section of the EBAA website under Accreditation Information.

If you have any questions, please contact EBAA Director of Regulations & Standards, Jennifer DeMatteo.

EBAA 2020 Annual Meeting

EBAA 2020 Annual Meeting:
A Virtual Success!

EBAA’s first virtual conference is in the books and even though it looked much different this year, it was probably EBAA’s longest and most attended meeting! Throughout the EBAA 2020 Annual Meeting, the themes of innovation, adapting to change, navigating COVID-19, diversity and inclusion, and the importance of cornea donation were all front and center through presentations, interactive sessions, panel discussions, research updates, peer to peer discussions, heartfelt videos and more.

While we may not have been together in person, we sure did listen, learn, laugh, improv, and cry together during #EBAA2020. Check out the Annual Meeting Blog to see what you may have missed from the meeting.

The event featured:

  • 3 full days of content and 5 days of live webinars, and 6 pre-released on-demand sessions
  • 30 events and sessions (24 held live)
  • More than 70 Presentations by 88 speakers, including 4 international speakers
  • Live Governance Meetings
  • 3 Networking Events and a Moderated Peer to Peer Medical Director Discussion
  • An improv session with The Second City
  • Opportunity to earn over 28 CEUs and 9 CME
  • More than 1100 registrants

Here’s what attendees are saying:

  • “Very refreshing to hear new ideas and information.”
  • “This was very well done and easy to attend. The variety of topics was impressive.”
  • “This is such a great meeting!! So many tears with the stories!!”
  • “Absolutely loved the direct donation story of the sister being able to receive her sister’s cornea. It’s rare that direct donation ever works in eye donation so it’s great to see when something like that works out.”
  • “I am glad I took the time to set in and listen, I could not tear myself away, lots of wholesome information.”

Thank you to all of the speakers, attendees, sponsors, and planning committees for helping to make the EBAA 2020 Annual Meeting a success. We truly appreciate all of you.

A special thank you to the Donna Drury and her team at UT Southwestern Transplant Services Center Lions Eye Bank for making the memorable donor family and recipient sessions possible, for presenting in multiple areas, and for helping to secure additional speakers.

The Annual Meeting sessions are available online and on-demand. If you were a registered attendee or registered through a group pass, you have access to the sessions through June 30, 2021. If you missed the meeting, but want to view the session, purchase the meeting today!

Review the information below for important summaries, actions, and updates regarding #EBAA2020!

Reports from Committees and Boards
During the Annual Meeting, the EBAA Board of Directors, House of Delegates, Medical Advisory Board and various committees made important policy decisions, held elections, and informed members of previous and future activities. Below is a summary of the actions that were taking during those meetings.

House of Delegates
The House of Delegates elected new members or of the EBAA Board of Directors, and voted that new members can be elected based on a plurality vote rather than a majority vote.

Medical Advisory Board
The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) made and passed the following motions during its June 20, 2020 meeting:

  • Approved the minutes from the October 10, 2019 meeting held in San Francisco, CA.
  • Voted to accept the recommendation from the Policy and Position Research Subcommittee to add “active Lyme disease (known or suspected)” to D1.110 EBAA Contraindications for Transplant.
  • Voted to accept the Donor Prep Subcommittee proposed changes to E1.100 Recovery. This change to the Medical Standards will be effective September 1, 2020.
  • Formed a subcommittee to develop further recommendations regarding investigating and reporting adverse reactions.
  • Voted to accept the Quality Assurance Committee’s proposed changes to the Technical Procedures Manual
  • Voted to accept the proposed change to M1.600 Statistical Reporting.

Accreditation Board
The Accreditation Board (AB) made and passed the following motions during its June 18, 2020 meeting:

  • Approved the minutes from the October 10, 2019 meeting held in San Francisco, CA.
  • Formed a small subcommittee to develop a video use guidance document.
  • Voted to accept the proposed revision to Accreditation policy G1.000 -Identification of Accreditation Status, to communicate changes to accreditation status.
  • Voted to award 3-year accreditation status to 4 banks.

Important Follow-Up Information

If you purchased the package as an individual registrant, you may earn CEUs through August 31, 2020. Note: CEUs are not available for those who attended as part of the group pass.

Medical Director Proof of Attendance
Proofs of attendance were emailed to each Medical Director who attended the Annual Meeting live. Certificates for both the MAB Meeting and Medical Director Symposium can be downloaded on eyeLEARN. Medical Directors must attend the sessions by August 31, 2020, to fulfill the attendance requirement for accreditation.

CME for Physicians
Amedco designated the events on Saturday, June 20, (General Sessions, Scientific Symposium, and Medical Directors Symposium, and the MAB Meeting) for a maximum of 9 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians who completed the survey will receive the certificate within the next 6 weeks.

To earn CEUs or fulfill Medical Director requirements, the sessions and surveys must be completed by August 31.

Award Recipients

Congratulations to this year’s Award Recipients. We are sorry that we could not honor them in person at this time, but plan to celebrate them in the future.

2020 Leonard Heise Award Recipient:

Donna Drury, MBA, CEBT, CTBS, UT Southwestern Transplant Services Center

Gift of Sight Recipients:

Jeffrey Barnard, MD, Chief Medical Examiner, Dallas County
William Rohr, MD, Chief Medical Examiner, Collin County

Scientific Symposium Best Paper of Session Award
Peter Bedard from Lions Gift of Sight, received the Best Paper of Session Award during the Scientific Symposium for his presentation, “Descemet’s Membrane vs. Amniotic Membrane for Corneal Epithelium Regeneration.” The award is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the International Journal of Eye Banking (IJEB).

Congratulations to the Prize Winners
During the Networking Events, raffles were held for a variety of prizes. Congratulations to these winners!

Grand Prize- Annual Meeting Package with Hotel and Travel

  • Kristel Gruslin, UT Southwestern Transplant Services Center

Free Annual Meeting Registrations

  • Elmer Tu, MD, Eversight
  • Cristina Canavesi, LighTopTech Corp.

eyeLEARN webinar subscription

  • Kara Johnston, VisionFirst

Amazon Gift Card

  • Jackie Doerr, UT Southwestern Transplant Services Center Lions Eye Bank
  • Joshua Moore, SightLife

Save the Date!
We hope to see everyone in person at the 2021 Annual Meeting taking place June 9- 12 in Kansas City, Missouri!

Thank you to the organizations who generously supported the 2020 Annual Meeting – their support was critical to its success. View the Sponsors page for information about these organizations!

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Educational Programs and Events 

New Educational Content Available on eyeLEARN!

Live upcoming webinars, event recordings, on-demand sessions, and free resources are just a glimpse into everything eyeLEARN has to offer. Below are some of the educational programs currently featured on eyeLEARN! 

Upcoming Live Webinars!

Corneal Endothelium Image Quality and Analyses: Best Practices for Eye Banking
Wednesday, August 12, 1 PM EDT

This webinar, moderated by Dr. Jonathan Lass, focuses on corneal endothelial imaging following best practices in eye banking and the EBAA Medical Standards. Beth Ann Benetz, Professor at Case Western Reserve University, discusses analysis methods, common errors, the handling of pathology, normal versus abnormal morphology and pathology, as well as the effect of tissue-related and imaging artifacts. Register your organization today for the low price of $50!

Raising Your RQ (Remote Quotient)
Friday, September 25, 1 PM EDT

We are currently living in an exclusively virtual world, and many people are uncomfortable using digital platforms. They may feel awkward on video conferences, fail to engage fully on conference calls, or feel disconnected, disoriented, and often depressed while working from home. This dynamic seminar by Raleigh Mayer, the Gravitas Guru and senior fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, outlines the neuroscience involved in virtual engagement, and its physical and psychological implications. It stresses the importance of performance when communicating with stakeholders, and the impact of  tone of content. We are living and working in a virtual world: We must master the culture. Register today!

New On-Demand Webinar!

The Funeral Home Relationship: Creating Successful Outreach Programs
Earlier this month, three speakers discussed the education, resources, and materials that can be provided to funeral directors to establish and strengthen the relationship between the funeral home and the eye bank. Register today to learn more about establishing strong and productive relationships with your funeral home partners!

2020 Annual Meeting Package

The EBAA 2020 Annual Meeting is available on-demand! Registered meeting attendees have access to all of the session recordings from the Annual Meeting. To earn CEUs or fulfill Medical Director requirements, the sessions and surveys must be completed by August 31.

The package is available for purchase for individuals who did not register for the live event. Access over 25 hours of educational content for one low price and discover why attendees are raving about this year’s meeting!

Featured sessions:

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month. Check out these sessions from the Annual Meeting to get new ideas for engaging diverse communities:

Diversity in Donation: Creating Programs that Resonate with Diverse Communities
Engaging with and Motivating Diverse Audiences

Free Content Available!

If you are looking for a free session or two, be sure to check out the Free Sessions section!

Explore eyeLEARN for upcoming sessions and on-demand learning opportunities!

Cornea and Eye Banking Forum: Present Your Research!

The EBAA and the Cornea Society are accepting abstract submissions for the 2020 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, taking place on November 7 online.

The 2020 Forum features:

  • Scientific abstract presentations
  • Two mini-symposia featuring invited speakers
  • The Paton Lecture delivered by the 2020 Paton Award Recipient, Dr. Stephen C. Kaufman, MD, PhD
  • Four award presentations, including the Best Paper of Session.

With the presentation of all new information and research, this event is a favorite among corneal surgeons and eye bankers. Previous attendees have shared these thoughts about the program:

  • Great and useful content by all!
  • Appropriate level of complexity of information.
  • Excellent new Ideas by young presenters and well discussed debates on controversial topics.
  • Well-chosen talks with practical applications.
  • Great and diverse speakers and topics. This is my favorite meeting each year!

Be part of the cornea and eye banking event of the year and submit an abstract for presentation consideration today. The deadline for abstract submissions is Monday, August 17. Registration opens soon. Submit an abstract today!

Fall Leadership Meetings

The Accreditation Board, Medical Advisory Board and Board of Directors will meet virtually in November. Information about the dates and registration for the public meetings will be announced soon.

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Certification Updates

2020 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 10-24, 2020.

New this year, candidates have the option to take the exam remotely using an online remote assessment platform. This exciting opportunity is a great way to become certified while socially distancing at home or in the office.

Early bird rates end August 17 and all applications are due September 2. 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!

CEBTs Expiring in 2020: Maintain Your Certification Status!

Certified Eye Bank Technicians whose certification is set to expire this year must fulfill all requirements for recertification and submit a complete application by December 31, 2020.

To maintain status as a CEBT, each individual must earn 16 CEUs during the three-year certification period, including attendance at two of the following: Medical Advisory Board Meeting, Technician Skills Workshop, Scientific Session (the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum or the Scientific Symposium), and the Medical Directors Symposium. To view your CEUs online, log into the Members’ Portal, and select “My CEUs” from the side menu.

If you have met the requirements to recertify, simply fill out the recently updated online application and submit it with payment.

If you need additional CEUs, there are a number of ways to earn them! Opportunities include:

  • The EBAA 2020 Annual Meeting– available on-demand and for purchase
  • The Cornea and Eye Banking Forum- Registration opening soon!
  • The Fall Leadership Meeting- Registration opening soon!
  • On-demand sessions and upcoming webinars available on eyeLEARN

Rates will increase December 1; submit your recertification application today!

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Award, Scholarship, and Grant Information


Congratulations to the 2020 Pilot Research Grant Recipients

The 2020 EBAA Pilot Research Grants have been selected! This year, we received an unprecedented number of strong research proposals. Ultimately, seven projects will be funded for a total of $52,500. Congratulations to this year’s recipients, we look forward to hearing updates on your research!

2020 Grant Recipients

Doug Chung, PhD, UCLA Stein Eye Institute
Investigation of oxidative stress and inflammatory response in ex vivo corneal endothelial cells during cell culture and expansion

Elsayed Elbasiony, MD, MSc, Schepens Eye Research Institute
Efficacy of growth factors in promoting corneal endothelial cell survival during tissue storage and transplantation

Alfonso Iovieno, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS, The BioFoundry at UBC
Development of novel hybrid co-polymer for corneal stromal tissue engineering

Ahmad Kheirkhah, MD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Nanoparticle Technology for Improving Corneal Graft Survival

Kenten Kingsbury, BS, Iowa Lions Eye Bank
Proteomic Validation of Diabetic Corneal Endothelial Cell Matrix 

Sung Lee, BSc, Lions Gift of Sight
Evaluation of alamarBlue as an “in-situ” Endothelial Cell Viability Assay in Preloaded DMEK grafts. 

Whitney Stuard, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
The Temporal Effects of Cold Storage and Re-warming on Mitochondrial Fitness in Donor Corneal Endothelium

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International Journal of Eye Banking: New Edition Available!

The latest edition of the International Journal of Eye Banking (IJEB) – Volume 8, Number 1 has been published, and is available for you to access.

This issue features the article Investigation of Contamination of Corneal Tissue Processed within the Utah Lions Eye Bank by Trevor Annis, Kaidi Wang MD, Mark Mifflin MD, and Amy Lin, MD. It discusses the increase of fungal endophthalmitis following endothelial keratoplasty in the mid-2010s and its plateau in recent years.

Also included in this issue are:

IJEB welcomes submissions from eye bankers, researchers, physicians, or others involved in eye banking and corneal transplantation.

Now Accepting Nominations: 2021 Leonard Heise Award

EBAA is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Leonard Heise Award.

The Leonard Heise Award is presented to non-medical eye bankers in recognition of their outstanding devotion to the Eye Bank Association of America’s mission to #RestoreSight worldwide. Recipients exemplify the precepts of Leonard Heise, a major contributor to the fight against blindness and one of the EBAA’s founders. This award is given annually during the Annual Meeting.

The deadline to nominate someone for this award is Monday, September 21, 2020.

If you know a deserving individual who has made tremendous contributions to the eye banking community and the restoration of sight, nominate them today!


August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month

National Minority Donor Awareness Month is focused on outreach and education, including virtual events and messaging to:

– Provide education about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation

– Encourage donor registration & family conversations about donation

– Promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation

Resources and additional information can be found on Donate Life America’s website.

EBAA has the following eye donor/recipient stories available for sharing:


Call for Veteran and Staff Stories

As we prepare for Eye Donation Month 2020 (November) we plan on taking the week of Veterans Day (November 11), to recognize and honor those in eye banking who have served.

If you’d like to share your service, know someone who might share their story as a veteran, or have stories related to veteran donors, please contact Communications Manager, Colleen Bayus.

We’re also collecting stories from eye bank staffers, to hear about why you love your work and are so passionate about the mission to #restoresight. Please consider you sharing your story with Colleen!

Eye Donation Month 2020: A Community of Compassion

During #EBAA2020, EBAA President & CEO Kevin Corcoran announced the theme for 2020 Eye Donation Month (November): A Community of Compassion.

Stay tuned for announcements regarding an upcoming webinar where we will introduce a toolkit of materials you can use to promote Eye Donation Month at your own eye bank and within your local communities.

Given circumstances with COVID-19, you can expect digital resources we haven’t offered in the past!

Foresight 2020

The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration and the Venice Eye Bank Foundation are jointly hosting Foresight 2020, an international half-day virtual scientific workshop to investigate innovative approaches and perspectives in eye banking through the therapeutic application of ocular tissues and cells.

The event brings together basic science and clinical researchers to share knowledge and perspectives that may lead to future opportunities in the treatment of blinding eye diseases. Their goal is to build awareness around the broad array of research opportunities in tissue and cell biology and regenerative medicine that may be beneficial to the field of ophthalmology. Register today!

Date:    October 3, 2020
Time:    09:00 to 11:30 EDT
Fee:      Complementary
Open to:  Ophthalmologists, Researchers, Eye Bankers
Deadline: September 20, 2020

Association Listserv Chatter: What You’ve Missed!

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


  • Optovue OCT image issue
  • RECENT pre-mortem SARS-CoV-2 testing
  • ISBT Labels


  • iTransplant Surgeon Portal

Please contact Genevieve Casaceli to join a listserv!

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Upcoming Events / Deadlines / Save the Date