May 2019 Test Post

Looking Forward: Finding New Partners

  • Abbott and Costello
  • Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck
  • Key and Peele

Partnerships are all about bringing together diverse skills sets to accomplish something greater than either individual could do alone.  In successful partnerships, the members are able to concentrate on their strengths, knowing that the other partner will cover their weaknesses or absences.

Eye banking is no stranger to partnerships, from our foundational relationship between surgeons and lay eye bankers through the various alliances between and among independent eye banks.  So EBAA’s collaboration with ARVO to develop EyeFind is just one more example of a partnership that unites two strong organizations to advance our shared mission.

Member surveys conducted by both ARVO and EBAA found that the greatest barrier to researchers utilizing more corneal tissue in their projects, and eye banks providing more tissue for research, is a lack of transparency and understanding between the two groups.  EyeFind bridges that gap by providing a database of eye banks’ capabilities that researchers can filter by the types of tissues, processes and services available to find the ideal partners for their specific projects.

Dan Stamer, PhD, ARVO’s incoming president, and I recorded an overview of EyeFind during ARVO’s annual meeting in Vancouver last month.  It includes a demonstration of how researchers can use the resource to find and connect with eye banks that can provide the tissues best suited to their specific needs. The 20-minute video can be found on EBAA’s Facebook page.

EyeFind will also provide funding for new projects, in the form of grants for which researchers can apply.  EBAA and ARVO have committed $10,000 each to establish the fund, and the ARVO Foundation will conduct fundraising efforts to expand the pool of funds to encourage more researchers to initiate more projects.  Ultimately, this will result in the placement of more research tissue and the advancement of our shared mission to restore sight.

EyeFind went live two weeks ago; if you haven’t done so already, please confirm your eye bank’s listing and send any requested changes to

More on New Partners
The Board of Directors serve as EBAA members’ representatives, so they’re essentially your partners in the association’s governance.  Next month, the House of Delegates will elect three members to the Board of Directors during our annual meeting.

To help you choose your new partners, we’ve posted detailed information about each of the candidates; sort of like a dating site for Board members.  To review the candidates’ bios, experience and personal statements, please visit the Board candidate web page and find your Mr./Ms. Right.

Even More on New Partners
EBAA’s Communications Manager, Yolanda Raine, will be leaving the association on May 17 to pursue other opportunities and to find new partners with whom to work.  We wish her well and thank her for enhancing our communications and publications.
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2019 EBAA Annual Meeting: Innovation, Education, Science and Inspiration Abound!

In one month, eye bankers and corneal surgeons from around the country and various parts of the world will convene at the beautiful Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for the 2019 EBAA Annual Meeting.

We are excited to host a meeting that will highlight innovation, science, education, inspiration and collaboration throughout the four-day eye banking event of the year. This year’s schedule of events features two keynote speakers, over 90 individuals who will present on a wide variety of topics, an interactive media training intensive, a social in the desert that you will not want to miss, an awards program honoring individuals who have made an impact on the gift of sight, an Exhibit Hall featuring the latest products for eye bank professionals, and numerous educational and networking opportunities.

Below are details and the latest information to help you make the most of this year’s meeting:

Media Training Intensive
Seats are still available for the Media Training Intensive: Proven Tips and Techniques for Success on Wednesday, June 5, at 8 am. This unique and interactive professional development opportunity will be led by three experienced media and communications professionals and will provide attendees with tools that can be used in their careers and on behalf of their organizations. Separate registration required.

New Attendee Coffee
If this is your first meeting, visit Moor 2 from 9:30 am – 10:30 am for coffee, information about the meeting and the association, and a chance to meet new people before the meeting begins!

Keynote Presentations
EBAA is thrilled to welcome two distinguished keynote speakers to the 2019 Annual Meeting. On Thursday, June 6, Professor Michael Bennett will deliver his presentation “Innovating with Fresh Vision.” This session is sponsored by Alabama Eye Bank.

On Friday, June 7, Dr. Kia Washington will discuss the possibility of whole eye transplantation during her presentation, “Second Sight: A Comprehensive Approach to Whole Eye Transplantation.”

We hope you will join us for both presentations.

Thursday Night Social: A Wild West Evening in Copper Canyon
Grab your cowboy hats and boots and join us for an evening in the wild west. Tickets include dinner, drinks, and fun!

EBAA is excited to announce the recipients of the Crystal Cornea Award, Gift of Sight Award, and Leonard Heise Award, all of which will be presented during the Annual Dinner and Awards Program on Friday, June 7. We are also pleased to announce the recipients of the Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship in International Eye Banking and the Patricia Aiken-O’Neill Scholarship who will be attending the meeting as part of their fellowship or scholarship.

And the Award Goes To…
Each year during the Annual Dinner and Awards Program, we gather to reflect on the year and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to eye banking, the facilitation of the gift of sight, or the promotion of cornea donation.

Crystal Cornea Award
The Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’

Trust For Life
Nominated by Kentucky Lions Eye Bank 
Gift of Sight Award
Jeffrey S. Johnston, MD

Chief Medical Examiner
Maricopa County Office of the
Medical Examiner
Nominated by Donor Network of Arizona
Leonard Heise Award
Mark Soper

Surgical Education and Innovation
Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship
Célia Regina Malveste Ito

Supervisor and Technician
Eye Bank of Federal University of Goiás, Brazil
Patricia Aiken O’Neill Scholarship
Joy Fragola

Professional Outreach Director
Southern Eye Bank


EBAA thanks the following 2019 Annual Meeting sponsors, for their support.

Konan Medical USA, Inc.
Lions VisionGift
Alabama Eye Bank
Gebauer Medizintechnik GmbH
Mid America Transplant

Several key sponsorship opportunities remain but time is running out to be recognized in printed meeting materials.  Secure your sponsorship today or contact Janet Ridgely for more information.

EBAA is pleased to announce that the following organizations will exhibit at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Attendees are encouraged to visit them in the Exhibit Hall to find out the latest technological developments, equipment, services and more.

Alphapointe Moria, Inc.
Bausch + Lomb National Disease Research Interchange
BIONIKO Oftalmedia LLC
Donate Life America QualTex
Donate Life Rose Parade Float Quick Specialized Healthcare Logistics
ECL2/Q-Pulse Restore Sight International
Gebauer Medizintechnik GmbH Statline
Global FIRST Stephens Instruments
Konan Medical USA, Inc. Stradis Healthcare
Krolman Transplant Connect
Medline VRL Eurofins

If you will be attending the Annual Meeting, we hope you will join us at the Annual Dinner and Awards Program to recognize and honor all of these people and organizations who have each made a an impact on the gift of sight. Congratulations to the 2019 award recipients.

Volunteers Needed to Scan Name Badges at the Annual Meeting
EBAA is looking for volunteers to scan name badges during the 2019 Annual Meeting. This is a great opportunity for individuals to meet other attendees. If you are interested in this opportunity, visit the volunteer page for more information and to sign-up as a volunteer.
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Annual FDA and the Changing Paradigm for HCT/P Regulation Conference

The 15th Annual FDA and the Changing Paradigm for HCT/P Regulation conference took place April 23 – 24, 2019, at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, DC. The conference featured in-depth presentations on recent FDA regulations and guidance for human tissues and cells, with a separate track for reproductive tissues.  Speakers included representatives from the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), as well as several individuals from the Commissioned Core of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Day one the of conference featured presentations from Mary Malarkey, Director of the Office of Compliance and Biologics Quality (OCBQ) who presented a compliance update for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Attendees also heard from Catherine V. Quinlan, Director of the Compliance Branch, Office of Biological Products Operations who discussed common inspectional observations and how to avoid them. The HCT/P Deviation Reporting Workshop covered how to determine the reportability of deviations for different HCT/P types through interesting case studies and interactive discussion.

On day two of the conference, a panel presented the industry perspective on contracts and quality agreements, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified as a problem for HCT/P establishments. Stephen Wehrer, MBA, CEBT, Eastern Regional Manager, Lions VisionGift presented the ocular perspective on regulated vendor qualification for those who perform a manufacturing step for the eye bank (e.g., donor or microbiology testing, tissue processing or irradiation) or who support a manufacturing step (e.g., remote media storage, equipment maintenance, sterilization, regulated medical waste).

Mark Moore, PhD, MBA, CCRP, Global Senior Director, Scientific Affairs, of LifeNet Health discussed the potential for using human cells as a way to honor the gift of donation with the goal of advancing medicine.

The two-day conference ended with the ever-popular Ask the FDA session. For the first time, questions were able to be submitted prior to the conference. The 16th Annual conference will take place February 3 – 5, 2020, in Washington, DC.


EBAA reported on recent legislative and regulatory developments in the April 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

eyeLEARN: New Resources and Educational Sessions Available

EBAA is offering on-demand educational resources that can be viewed anytime through our online education portal, eyeLEARN. This easy-to-use platform allows members to access online learning and resources simply by using the same EBAA login credentials that you use to enter the EBAA member section on the EBAA website.

Last week, EBAA hosted the informational and complimentary webinar, “EBAA Statistical Report: Highlights, Trends, and How to Use the Data at Your Organization.” If you missed the session, view it for free on eyeLEARN to learn more about what the 2018 data means, how to use the data to benchmark your own organization, and tips for reporting the data in 2019.

There are also a wide variety of new on-demand sessions available on eyeLEARN. If you missed an EBAA webinar – check out the list of recently added sessions below:

Begin your eyeLEARN journey today!

EBAA High Impact Research Grant: Receive Up To $50,000 to Conduct Your Research!

EBAA is requesting proposals for the 2019 EBAA High Impact Research Grant. This grant is a unique funding opportunity offered by EBAA in an effort to make a significant impact on cornea and eye banking research. Each year, EBAA will fund a high impact project focused on a specific topic of interest to the eye banking and corneal transplant community. A request for applications will be posted annually and the recipient will be announced during the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum.

This year, EBAA is accepting proposals specifically focused on “Ex vivo Corneal Endothelial Cell Expansion.” One proposal will be selected for funding in 2019 up to $50,000. The award cycle is November 1, 2019 – October 31, 2020, and applications are due July 31.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make an impact in eye banking and corneal transplantation; submit a proposal today!

CEBT Exam: Updated Application Now Available!

The EBAA Exam Committee is excited to announce recent updates to the application for the Certified Eye Bank Technician (CEBT) Exam. Updates were made to the Practical Performance Competency Verification, giving candidates the option to perform a Laboratory Excision or an In-Situ Excision to be reviewed by the eye bank technician trainer and Medical Director.

Thank you to the Exam Committee for all of their work on this application, and to the Certification Board for reviewing and approving the application.

The Fall 2019 Certified Eye Bank Technician (CEBT) Exam will take place October 12 – 25, 2019, and the application featuring the updated information is now available. As a reminder, the exam may be held in the U.S. or in an international location. The deadline for international applicants is August 9. The early bird rate for applicants in the U.S. and Canada ends on August 23, and all applications are due on September 4.

Join the ranks of hundreds of CEBTs; apply to take the exam today!

Host the 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellow

The application to host the 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellow is now open! The Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship in International Eye Banking brings 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. Past host eye banks have enjoyed training the Fellow, hosting him or her in their city, learning about practices at the Fellow’s eye bank, and being part of this longstanding program.

EBAA and the Eye Bank for Sight Restoration established this fellowship to honor Mary Jane O’Neill, the eye bank’s Executive Director from 1980-2000. During her long history in eye banking, Ms. O’Neill was a forward-thinking visionary and championed international outreach.

Applications are due on Wednesday, July 31. If your eye bank would like to share your experience and help provide an individual from an international location with the skills necessary to develop, operate, and maintain successful eye banks within their own countries, we encourage you to submit an application today!

2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum: Submit an Abstract Today!

The Eye Bank Association of America and Cornea Society are currently accepting abstract submissions for the  2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum. This annual one-day educational program will take place on Friday, October 11, at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and will feature the latest research and scientific developments in corneal surgery eye banking, and more. If you have been working on research related to the cornea or corneal tissue, we encourage you to submit an abstract proposal today. All abstracts are due August 2.

Registration for the Forum is also open. The program will feature over 25 scientific free-paper presentations, two invited sessions, two award lectures, and four award presentations.

See what attendees had to say about last year’s Cornea and Eye Banking Forum:

  • “Excellent new ideas by young presenters and well discussed debates on controversial topics.”
  • “This meeting continues to be the best cornea meeting of the year!”
  • “The selection of materials and speakers, organization and attention to staying on schedule was excellent.”

Be a part of this annual favorite; submit an abstract and register today!
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Congratulations to the CEBT Class of Spring 2019!

We are excited to announce the Spring 2019 Class of Certified Eye Bank Technicians (CEBTs). The spring exam took place March 23 – April 6, in the U.S., Canada, and Saudi Arabia. To pass the exam, the candidates had to answer at least 187 questions correctly out of the 250 on the exam. Christine Humphreys from the Eye Bank of Canada–Ontario Division received the highest score for this exam cycle.

Eye Bank News

KeraLink International has had a change in business address and phone number.  The new information is as follows:

KeraLink International
300 East Lombard Street, Suite 1510
Baltimore, MD 21202-3266

As of April 19, 2019, Linda Becker, CEBT, will serve as interim manager of the Ocular Services Department with Nevada Donor Network.

EEBA 2020 Annual Meeting

The European Eye Bank Association will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting on January 16 – 18, 2020, in Hannover, Germany.  A new feature of this meeting will be a Photo and Art Contest, which is designed to raise awareness among the general public about corneal donation and transplantation.  These images will be available to all EEBA members to use in their own public awareness campaigns.  EEBA has specifically invited EBAA members to consider participating in the contest.

Please visit EEBA’s website for more information about the meeting and the contest.

Eye Donation Month is an EXCEL Award Finalist!

EBAA is honored to announce that the 2018 Eye Donation Month campaign is a finalist for TWO of the 2019 Annual EXCEL Awards. The EXCEL Awards recognize excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing and communications.  The campaign is up for an award in the Awareness Campaign and Educational Advertisement Campaign categories.

We would like to extend a special thank you to our partners at Gavilan and Associates and GRAPHEK and to the Donor Development Committee for their work on transforming this year’s observance.

The award winners will be announced and celebrated at the 2019 EXCEL Awards Gala, on June 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. We hope to bring home the gold in the both categories.

Association Listserv Chatter: What You’ve Missed!

Sometimes the best conversations are actually those that are held on the EBAA listservs. If you have not yet subscribed to a listserv, you may be missing out on helpful discussions amongst eye bank professionals. Many individuals who have been in the eye banking community for a long time 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 one another. EBAA offers the following listservs: Technicians, Donor Development, Finance, Quality Assurance and Executive Director.

Here are some of the topics that have been discussed this past month!

Technician Listserv:

  • The use of circulators during DSEK processing
  • The identification of funeral home donors without a “formal” ID

Quality Assurance Listserv

  • The qualification or inspection of the medical waste vendor(s) that operate at local Medical Examiner’s Offices

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 Executive Directors.
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Upcoming Events
EBAA 2019 Annual Meeting
June 5 – 8, 2019
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Scottsdale, AZ

2019 AOPO Annual Meeting
June 17 – June 20, 2019
Marriott Marquis Houston
Houston, TX

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

AAO 2019
October 12 – 15, 2019
Moscone Center
San Francisco, CA

Donate Life America Annual Meeting
October 22 – October 24, 2019
Memphis, TN

Save the Date
Webinar: Ocular Research Tissue: From the Eye Bank to the Researcher
June 19, 2019
1pm Eastern

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

2020 EBAA Annual Meeting
June 17 – 20, 2020
Fairmont Dallas
Dallas, TX