March 2019 Issue of Insight


Chair’s Address

Everyone should now be ready to say goodbye to the polar vortex and hello to spring.

The 2018 EBAA Statistical Report is about to be released, the program for the 2019 Annual Meeting is set, and Washington D.C. politics are heating up around the corner from the EBAA office, so can spring be far behind?

The EBAA Board convened this month for a strategic planning retreat (at the airport hotel in Houston, Texas. No, this is not a junket!) to discuss issues that will impact eye banking in the next 5 – 10 years. We are looking at economic, medical, political, and social trends in eye banking to plan how the EBAA should position itself to manage the inevitable changes in eye banking that may present in the future. As part of the revised governance structure instituted last year, we want the EBAA, already the world’s leading eye bank organization, to have value for every member and to continue to make each of us and our profession stronger.

Please feel free to share any of your ideas or concerns with any EBAA Board member or myself. We would welcome the chance to hear from you. The ideas that come out of the strategic planning session will be discussed at the annual meeting.

The 2019 EBAA Annual Meeting will be held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess outside of Phoenix, Arizona June 5 – 8. The property is a luxury 5-star hotel with five top-rated restaurants on site, six swimming pools and two golf courses, including the home of the PGA Phoenix Open and the loudest par 3 on the PGA tour. The meeting program includes sessions on donor relations, media planning, and a keynote presentation by Kia Washington, MD, FACS, on the status of whole eye transplantation.

The EBAA has secured a block of rooms at $209 per night, so this is a great chance to experience a world class resort at a reasonable rate. To sweeten the pot, the EBAA has planned an exciting social event on Thursday night to show off the scenic beauty of the southwest, A Wild West Evening in Copper Canyon (separate sign up is required in addition to meeting registration).

Hope to see you there!

Woody Van Meter
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Looking Forward: Things to come

Call for Board Nominations: As Woody mentioned above, the Board conducted its strategic planning meeting last weekend.  This exercise, which helped determine the future of the association and the profession, highlights the importance of a diverse and representative Board of Directors.  The EBAA House of Delegates will elect three At-Large Directors when we meet in June; this is your opportunity to select your representatives, or to serve on the Board yourself.

Please nominate yourself or a colleague using the nomination form no later than April 8.  The duties and responsibilities for all Board positions can be found online here.

Thank you for contributing to a vibrant and strategic Board of Directors.

ONE Update: Four weeks ago, EBAA’s Ocular Network Exchange (ONE) was launched, allowing eye banks to better serve their surgeons and put their donor tissue to the highest use by creating an online resource for transferring corneal tissue between eye banks.  No longer do you need to rely on phone, fax or email to share or request tissue; now you can review dozens of transplant quality tissue, filter the results based on your specific needs and download the tissue report form at the click of your mouse.

Through its first four weeks of operation, ONE has helped 32 eye banks place dozens of corneas for transplant.  Remember that every transfer represents a connection from an eye bank to an eye bank, using a system that charges no fees of any kind.  ONE is simply a benefit of EBAA membership.

If your eye bank hasn’t tried ONE yet, please visit to learn more about the system and to watch our demonstration webinar.  And if you’ve already logged in to ONE, please watch for a users’ survey and let us know what you think and how we can make it an even more valuable tool for you and your eye bank.

Eye Donation Month: Last year, EBAA shifted Eye Donation Month from March to November, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the Spring months to promote the value of registering as an eye, organ, and tissue donor.  April is National Donate Life Month, and EBAA is a proud and active supporter of Donate Life America.  DLA has made a significant effort to integrate more eye and tissue references into their materials.  In fact, the opportunity to spread EBAA’s and DLA’s commemoration events across the calendar, rather than concentrating them in March and April, was a major reason for our move to November.

Many EBAA-member eye banks use DLA’s resources as part of their own community events during April; if your eye bank hasn’t used their tools, please refer to the article further down this issue of Insight, written by Chrissy Jenkins, the eye banking liaison to DLA’s Advisory Counsel and Associate Director at Old Dominion Eye Foundation.  You can also check out DLA’s resources at to see how readily they can be combined with your own tools and information.

Yolanda and I met with Chrissy and Karen Headley from DLA last month to plan collaborative efforts between our organizations, including some cornea-specific materials for distribution.  Please watch for information about these resources in the coming months.
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2019 EBAA Annual Meeting: Information, Opportunities, and Deadlines!

In less than twelve weeks, EBAA will be headed to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 2019 EBAA Annual Meeting.   This year’s meeting will take place June 5 – 8 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and will feature professional development opportunities, outstanding keynote speakers, the latest scientific research, a variety of networking opportunities, the newest products and services specifically for eye bank professionals and much more!

One highlight of this year’s schedule of events will be the Friday Keynote Session, where Dr. Kia Washington will deliver the presentation, Whole Eye Transplantation: From Experimental Model to Clinical Reality. During this presentation, Dr. Washington will discuss her research, highlighting the work that has been done thus far and what the future looks like for whole eye transplantation. You will not want to miss this presentation or any of the other events and sessions that we have planned for you!

Highlights of the 2019 Annual Meeting will include:

  • Media Training Intensive (Wednesday, June 5)
    • A 3.5-hour session designed specifically for eye bank CEOs, communication and marketing professionals, individuals in Director roles, and anyone else interested in learning tips and tools for communicating in a clear and confident manner. Additional fee applies.
  • New Attendee Coffee (Wednesday, June 5)
    • A free event to welcome individuals who have never attended the EBAA Annual Meeting before an opportunity to network with their peers and get information about the week ahead.
  • Welcome Reception (Wednesday, June 5)
    • A complimentary reception held on Wednesday evening in the Exhibit Hall, allowing attendees to socialize and interact with exhibitors on the first day of the meeting.
  • A Wild West Evening in Copper Canyon (Thursday, June 6)
    • Thursday’s programming will conclude with a fun social event at the hotel’s western town, Copper Canyon. The evening will include fun activities, food and drinks. Separate registration required.
  • Annual Dinner & Awards Program (Friday, June 7)
    • Join us for this annual event as we celebrate the successes of the year and honor various award recipients, including the 2019 Leonard Heise Award recipient. Included with registration.

As a friendly reminder, early bird registration rates will end April 5. Join leaders in the eye banking and ophthalmic communities for the eye banking event of the year and register today at the low early bird rates!

Exhibitor Registration Open

Exhibitor registration for the 2019 Annual Meeting is now open.  As in previous years, the Exhibit Hall will include dedicated hours as well as multiple meal events in the Exhibit Hall. Exhibitors pick the location of their exhibit in the order in which they register, and the Exhibit Hall typically sells out.  If you are thinking about joining us, we encourage you to register today.

For more information, to view Exhibit Hall hours, or to register to exhibit, please visit the Exhibitor Information page.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

The sponsorship program for the 2019 EBAA Annual Meeting June 5 – 8 is underway with a variety of opportunities currently available. EBAA has developed a range of sponsorship packages to help you communicate the benefits of your products and services to the conference attendees.

With an attendance of over 350 eye bank executives, hospital development coordinators, ophthalmologists and technicians, the Annual Meeting is the ideal venue for companies to show their support to the profession and promote their products and services to a wide variety of national and international leaders.

For more information on the sponsorship items available and the associated benefits, please visit the Sponsorship Opportunities page.

Purchase a Message in the Awards Program Booklet

Join the EBAA in honoring the 2019 Leonard Heise Award Recipient, Mark Soper. Congratulatory messages for the Heise Award recipient will be included in the awards program distributed during the Annual Dinner on June 7. Purchase your message today!

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Life is a Beautiful Ride – April is National Donate Life Month

Life is a beautiful ride. It does not matter what age you are, there is no better feeling than jumping on a bike and taking a ride. With the wind on your face, you feel a sense of rejuvenation. Donate Life America (DLA) was inspired by this feeling and idea for the 2019 National Donate Life Month (NDLM) theme. Like the donation and transplantation journey, a bicycle serves as a symbol of progress, renewal and the moving circle of life.

Bicycles come in all styles, shapes and sizes, but each is comprised of the same components, essential to supporting the rider and converting their energy into motion. Similarly, eye, organ, and tissue donation offers many ways to give hope, support and strength to patients waiting, recipients and donor families. We each carry the potential to help make LIFE a beautiful ride for ourselves, and then others, by registering as a donor, considering living donation, being a caregiver and championing the cause.

NDLM was created by DLA and its partnering organizations in 2003. Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those who have saved and improved lives through the gift of donation.

This National Donate Life Month, we ask you to consider your role in this lifesaving and healing journey, and how you can inspire others to provide hope through donation. There are many things your eye bank can do to help promote NDLM:

  • A bicycle coloring sheet is available. You can place it in surgeon’s offices for the younger patients to enjoy.
  • Display the NDLM artwork on your social media channels. Images are available for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  You can also add the artwork to your website.
  • Share stories of hope to inspire others to give the gift of sight and life. Makisha is one of the many stories of hope featured in DLA materials for NDLM. She is a double cornea recipient that uses her new sight to as a reading assistant for young students. Find more about Makisha’s story on
  • Send stories featuring your cornea recipients and donors to DLA for them to share to their nationwide audience. Contact Loren Squares to share your local stories.
  • If you haven’t already, please sign up to be a part of the DLA Community site. There are many resources on NDLM and other observances as well as best practices, data, and much more.
  • Hold a bike race or ride in honor of donors and recipients. Or have an event at a spin class at a local club or gym.
  • There are many more ideas and resources available, visit

Saving a life is as easy as riding a bike! Join us in celebrating National Donate Life month – Life is a beautiful ride.
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Legislative and Regulatory Update


EBAA reported on recent legislative and regulatory developments in the March 5, 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, Seminars, and Events

eyeLEARN: On-Demand Educational Sessions Available

Have you missed some of EBAA’s recent educational sessions? If you missed an EBAA webinar – we have you covered!

Explore eyeLEARN, EBAA’s online educational portal, to view these sessions:

For a 75% discount on your next eyeLEARN purchase and to learn more about the platform, register today for the complimentary session, “eyeLEARN: A Guide to Navigating EBAA’s Online Education Portal,” taking place on April 3 at 1 pm Eastern.

Start your online learning adventure with eyeLEARN today!

Registration Open for Three EBAA Webinars

Registration is currently open for three upcoming webinars. Register today to learn more about the role of the Medical Examiner, EBAA’s new online learning portal eyeLEARN and how to apply lean methodology at your eye bank!

The Office of the Medical Examiner: What You Need to Know
March 20 at 1 PM Eastern

This webinar will focus on the Medical Examiner, highlighting the ME’s role, the cases that are assigned to an ME, and one organization’s strong relationship with their local ME. Dr. Mary Case,  Chief Medical Examiner  in St. Louis County, Missouri, and former recipient of the EBAA Gift of Sight Award, will discuss the role of the Medical Examiner and the relationship that has been developed between her office and Mid-America Transplant.

During this session, she will also review a couple of cases that have come to her office and will discuss whether or not they resulted in a referral for donation. Debbie Lanter from Mid-America Transplant will join the session and will discuss the relationship from the eye bank and OPO’s perspective and give insight into building a relationship the Medical Examiner’s officer. The speakers will also share some of the more common challenges that are encountered when preserving the integrity of the death investigation while also ensuring that donation is possible.

eyeLEARN: A Guide to Navigating EBAA’s Online Education PortalFree!
April 3 at 1 pm Eastern

EBAA’s new online education portal, eyeLEARN, houses on-demand educational sessions and event recordings.

During this complimentary session, Stacey Gardner, EBAA Director of Education, and Genevieve Casaceli, EBAA Education and Programs Manager, will explain how to access the site, guide you through the platform, and discuss the resources available to you.

Everyone who attends this FREE webinar will receive a 75% discount code to be used toward their next eyeLEARN purchase. This is a huge savings, allowing you to view a 60-minute session for $13.75 instead of $55, and to attend the 2018 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum for just $49.75 instead of $199!  Attend this session to learn more about eyeLEARN and to save on your next purchase!

An Introduction to Lean Methodology in Eye Banking
April 24 at 2 PM Eastern

Lean methodology is a structured and effective way to look for and to reduce or eliminate waste in an organization’s daily operations and processes. Lean focuses on the value of the goods and services that we provide from the customer’s point of view.

Greg Olson from Iowa Lions Eye Bank will highlight the five Lean principles, discuss the eight types of waste that are common and identifiable in your work processes, and define what is or is not a value.

Register for this webinar to learn more about the Lean methodology and how to incorporate its principles at your eye bank.
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Awards, Grants, and Scholarships

Fund Your Research with the 2019 Richard Lindstrom Research Grant!

Research is important and often leads to new discoveries, new processes, changes to the status quo, answers to previously unsolved questions and much more. Oftentimes, the most difficult step in starting research is finding funding for the project.

EBAA supports research and is accepting proposals for the 2019 EBAA Richard Lindstrom Research Grant. 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.

EBAA is excited to announce that this year the maximum award amount has been increased to $7,500! Multiple projects will be funded, including one eye bank proposal. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 19. For more information and to apply, click here.

Networking Grant: Apply Today to Collaborate with Another Eye Bank!

Collaboration has always been a unique trait in the eye banking profession. EBAA supports eye banks working together and learning from each other with the EBAA Networking Grant. Each year, EBAA awards up to two grants of $1,500 each to promote the interchange of ideas between member eye banks. This unique grant allows staff from one eye bank to visit another eye bank to learn a specific aspect of eye banking or to collaborate on a project of interest in the eye banking community.

EBAA encourages members to take advantage of this special grant opportunity to collaborate with others in the association. Applications are due April 15. For more information and to apply, click here.
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March Madness Returns to EBAA!

It is the month of March, which means the mania of the NCAA Basketball Tournaments is fast approaching. To get into the “March Madness” spirit, EBAA will be hosting the 6th Annual EBAA March Madness Challenge!

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament starts next week and EBAA will host a bracket challenge on and we invite everyone to join in on the fun. The first-place winner will receive one free webinar registration for their eye bank (value of $110). If you would like to take part in the EBAA March Madness Challenge, please complete the registration form by Tuesday, March 19 at 11:59 pm Eastern.

Registration for this challenge is free and open to all EBAA Members and Paton Society Members. You can take part in the fun as an individual or by submitting a bracket on behalf of an organization. Once we have received your registration, we will invite you to the challenge through the CBS sports website, where you will have to fill out your bracket by Thursday, March 21.

Research your teams, fill out your brackets and join in on the mania! Register today!

Eye Bank News

Operation will cease effective March 5, 2019 at Eversight’s Bloomington, Illinois laboratory located at 301 S. Prospect, Suite 2 Bloomington, Illinois 61704.

The following governance changes are effective as of February 26, 2019, at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital Eye Bank: Saleh Al Mesfer, MD, CMO, will serve as Executive Director, and Muhammad Ahad, MD, PhD, as Medical Director.

KeraLink International has appointed Tom Buckley as the interim Tissue Bank Director for KeraLink Southeast effective February 22, 2019.

Effective January 24, 2019, Stacey Troha was named as Executive Director (permanent) of the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin.

Nadya Savoie, was hired on January 18, 2019 as the NBOTP Administrative Director. Debbie Jefferson will continue to be the lead for the eye bank.

Association Listserv Chatter: What You’ve Missed!
Sometimes we can all use a little help from our friends and often times that is done by asking a community a question, a best practice, or for some assistance finding a resource.

The EBAA listservs are a great way to communicate with others in the EBAA or learn from the discussions that others are having on the listservs. If you have not yet subscribed to a listserv, you may be missing some helpful discussions amongst eye bank professionals. Many individuals, including physicians, feel that the listservs provide members with a great communication tool that can enable members to share tips, get clarity on certain issues, and learn from each other. EBAA members and Paton Society members are invited to join in on the discussion.

EBAA offers the following listservs: Technicians, Donor Development, Finance, Quality Assurance and Executive Director.

Here are some of the questions that have been brought up on the techinican listserv during the past month!

  • What are the requirements in your Eye Bank for donors deaths due to natural causes in order to recover the corneas?
  • Tracking down a COA/ Certificate of Sterility for Accu-line Skin marking pens
  • Do eye banks accept or defer a donor with a history of Guillain-Barre?

If you are interested in joining a listserv and joining in on the conversations, please email Genevieve Casaceli. Please note the Executive Director listserv is invite only and specifically for eye bank Executive Directors/CEOs.

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Upcoming Events

March Webinar: The Office of the Medical Examiner: What You Need to Know
March 20, 2019
1 pm Eastern

April Webinar: An Introduction to Lean Methodology in Eye Banking
April 24, 2019
2 pm Eastern

April 4 – 6, 2019
Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
Scottsdale, AZ

15th Annual FDA and the Changing Paradigm for HCT/P Regulation
April 23 – 24, 2019
Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel
Washington, DC

AATB 2019 Quality and Donor Eligibility Workshop
April 15 – April 17, 2019
St. Louis, MO

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

Save the Date
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness’ (IAPB) 11th General Assembly (11GA)
October 12 – 14, 2020
Singapore, Thailand

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