#EBAA2023 was held on June 21- 24 in Dallas, Texas.
More than 300 individuals attended the EBAA 2023 Annual Meeting. Taking place over four days at the Fairmont, Dallas Hotel, the program focused on empowerment, inclusive leadership, DEI, research, innovation, and stories of donation and the gift of sight. The association also conducted governance functions, including meetings of the Accreditation Board, Medical Advisory Board, and the House of Delegates.
The meeting’s schedule included three days of sessions on a wide variety of pertinent topics, followed by a day-long Scientific Symposium on Saturday. For the full agenda, see the Annual Meeting page on the EBAA website.
One of the most impactful elements of #EBAA2023 were the stories of hope. To always remember our “why”, the meeting featured two touching stories of sharing and receiving the gift of sight; Shannon Hartley (donor family member and cornea recipient) and Zoe Rabago (cornea recipient) and Rosalba Gonzalez (donor mother).
Shannon shared her unique story; tragically losing her dear sister, but also being able to receive her sister’s cornea for her own sight- restoring corneal transplant procedure.
Zoe received a cornea at six months old from Rosalba’s daughter, Aolani. In the months following Zoe’s transplant, along with her family, she and Rosalba were able to meet. They immediately connected and their families continue to share an unmistakable bond.
Both families are champions of donation and work with EBAA to share their story and encourage others to register as donors. They were the “faces” of Eye Donation Month 2021, and also were awarded the 2023 Crystal Cornea Award.
Hands-on Experiences and demonstrations
Attendees were able to get hands-on experience with dissections and tissue evaluations, interacting with the eye in new and interesting ways!
Dissecting Ocular Tissue for Research, which included an instructional wet lab including the opportunity for attendees to learn how to dissect, isolate and preserve ocular tissue for research.
During the DSAEK Corneal Tissue Preparation Basics, instructors presented on Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty, and the session included a live demonstration.
Attendees received tips and training on how to evaluate corneal tissue using a slit lamp microscope during the Slit Lamp Microscopy Workshop. This interactive session was an in-depth presentation on slit lamp microscopy and an opportunity for attendees to evaluate tissue using Haag-Streit slit lamp microscopes.
The daily General Sessions brought all attendees together for compelling keynotes speeches on topics and issues that resonate throughout EBAA and the eye banking community. They included:
- Pathways to Donation after Neurological Death and Current Controversies
- Inspiring Culture: The Power of Empowerment in Eye Banking
- Research: Creating a POSITIVE IMPACT on the Word and Your Bottom Line
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Moving from Initiatives to Lasting Principles and Practice
- Creating a Deeper and More Diverse Bench of Medical Directors
- The State of the Association
Accreditation and Medical Advisory Board meetings
The Accreditation Board (AB) heard presentations on the Spring 2023 cycle of eye bank inspections and voted on accreditation renewals; the updated Accreditation Status List is available on the EBAA website. The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) updated the Medical Standards and Procedures Manual. They can be found in the Members Portal of the EBAA website under ‘Medical Advisory Board.’ Standard changes go into effect on September 1, 2023.
Scientific Symposium / Medical directors symposium
The Scientific Symposium featured the latest research and innovations in eye banking and corneal transplantation. The session, moderated by Joshua Hou, MD, and Soledad Cortina, MD, included presentations of 14 scientific abstracts, and two invited presentations on “The Future of Cultured Endothelial Cells.” During the invited sessions, Ellen Koo, MD, presented on her research, “Endothelial Magnetic Cell Injection for Treatment of Corneal Edema: The Early Observations and Clinical Results” and then Alfonso Sabater, MD, PhD presented on “Novel Biological Therapies for Corneal Endothelial Dysfunction.” The Best Paper of Session Award was presented to Mathew Kigin, a medical student from the University of Iowa, for his presentation, “Comparison of Conventional Methods and a Commercialized Cone- Shaped Funnel Adaptor Device for Loading DMEK Tissue into Modified Jones Tube.” The Best Paper of Session Award is supported by Eye Banking and Corneal Transplantation and is awarded to the medical student, resident, fellow or eye bank professional for the best paper presentation.
The meeting closed out with the Medical Director Symposium. This session featured presentations on topics relevant to Medical Directors and the entire eye banking profession. The symposium included invited speakers on Neurologic Disorders and Sepsis, interested case studies, information about tissue evaluation consults, discussion on the importance of mentorship, the role of the Medical Directors and important information about Accreditation Inspections.
EBAA Headlines at the house of blues
Besides learning, connecting, and presenting, eye bankers had a lot of FUN! EBAA took over the House of Blues Dallas for a special night of Texas BBQ, singing, and dancing with ‘Members Only’ – an energetic cover band specializing in everyone’s favorite hits from the 80’s and 90’s. (Plenty of dancing and singing photos exist – ask around. We’re refraining from posting them to prevent any public humiliation.)
Friday night was the annual EBAA Awards Dinner and Program. This year we honored:
2020 Gift of Sight: William Rohr, MD
2023 Gift of Sight: Satish Chundru, DO
2020 Heise Award: Donna Drury, MBA, CEBT, CTBS
2023 Heise Award: Chris Stoeger, MBA, CEBT, CTBS
Earlier in the week, the following awards were presented during the general sessions:
2023 Crystal Cornea: Rosalba Gonzalez & Zoe Rabago
*2023 Communication Optics Award: Matt Webber
*The EBAA Communication Optics Award is new for 2023. It recognizes an individual or team from an EBAA member eye bank who shows mastery of storytelling and creativity to advance EBAA’s mission to restore sight worldwide and demonstrates ongoing dedication to and excellence in spreading awareness and highlighting the gift of sight and its impact.
Thank you to these organizations for providing equipment, materials, supplies, instruments and tissue for the meeting.
Advancing Sight Network, Georgia Eye Bank, Lions Eye Bank of West Central Ohio, Miracles In Sight, Old Dominion Eye Bank, VisionFirst, VisionGift, Eversight, Lions Gift of Sight, Haag-Streit, Med-Logics, Dakota Sight and Health, UT Southwestern Transplant Services Center Lions Eye Bank, Miracles In Sight – Lonestar
Purchase the EBAA 2023 Annual Meeting Package!
#EBAA2023 is available on-demand on eyeLEARN. This package features select sessions from the 2023 Annual Meeting and includes more than 18 hours of content. CEBTs may purchase this package to earn CEUs required for recertification, and Medical Directors may purchase it to view the Medical Advisory Board Meeting and Medical Directors Symposium to fulfill their Accreditation requirements.
Save the Date for #EBAA2024
Mark your calendars and join us in Kansas City on June 5 – 8, 2024!