Full Disclosure: This is a very long, very meaty edition of Insight. We traditionally combine our October and November issues since they coincide with our Fall meeting. Therefore, we have two months of content to report (and we’ve been busy!), plus recaps of the Fall Leadership Meeting and the Cornea & Eye Banking Forum. So please allot some time to read this edition of Insight; I promise it’ll be worth it.
Telling Our Story to Our Closest Friends
Since our last issue of Insight, I’ve covered a bit of ground for EBAA, including:
- India: Eye Bank Association of India’s annual meeting, plus a meeting of the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations
- San Francisco: Fall Leadership Meeting/Cornea & Eye Banking Forum, plus AAO’s annual meeting
- Memphis: Donate Life America’s annual meeting
- Minneapolis: Lions Gift of Sight’s “Thanksgiving for Vision” community event
- ….and within the next week, I’ll be in Birmingham and Louisville.
While I always enjoy visiting with our members and talking about the transformative power of your work, I was quite impressed by the event hosted by Lions Gift of Sight (LGS). This program is an annual event for the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, which founded the eye bank and continues to provide support. Over 250 Lions from across the state were in attendance, which is a typical draw for this event. In years past, the content focused on the higher-level research being performed or supported by LGS (they’re the second biggest provider of research tissue in the country), but this year they did something different.
The program looked almost exclusively at the process of providing corneal tissue for transplant. Individual staff members took 15 minutes each to talk about the specific work they do in acquiring donors, performing recoveries, preparing tissue, etc., plus an overview of their current research projects. My role was to put all of LGS’s efforts into a national and global context.
Given that this event was for the Lions who help support the eye bank, I thought it was a very wise decision to go back to the beginning and ensure that this audience fully understood and appreciated the work being done by their eye bank. And I think it’s a lesson we all can learn from.
We’re so busy doing our jobs and moving our organizations forward that we can forget that those just outside our immediate orbit may not fully know or understand the work we do and how we do it. When that happens, gaps develop that can become fertile ground for misunderstandings or conflicts. This can be the case with your donors, your surgeons or your recovery partners. We assume they know all about us because they’re our closest collaborators, but it’s that very proximity that can cause the missed connections – both sides assume that the other’s understanding is deeper than it actually is, and neither side wants to “ask a silly question” or risk repeating the obvious.
Since it is Eye Donation Month, it’s a good opportunity to reach out to those partners closest to you and invite them to learn more about what your bank does and how it serves them and your entire community. If you have any questions about LGS’ event, Sean Poppoff would be happy to share his insights about the process.
November is Eye Donation Month
In 2018, we completely overhauled Eye Donation Month in response to member feedback and suggestions. This year, we refined our materials and recalibrated our strategies, building on last year’s successes. Now we’re a week into our commemoration and it’s gratifying to watch all the pieces fall into place.
There are countless ways for your bank to celebrate Eye Donation Month; many are listed on our website. Among the easiest and most fun is our “Eye Donation Month is Everywhere” social media photo activity; take a picture of the Eye Donation Month button in your community or at some activity or landmark, then post it on your social media channels, and remember to tag us (@RestoreSight) so we can share it. If you prefer to send it to us directly, we’re happy to post it on our accounts for you.
We also want to share how your bank is using our Eye Donation Month resources to spread the word about cornea donation and transplantation, so please let us know by email or by linking to us through social media. There might even be some gifts for those with particularly creative or effective efforts (hint).
New Issue of International Journal of Eye Banking
In case you missed last month’s announcement, EBAA has released the Fall issue of the International Journal of Eye Banking. The only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to eye banking and corneal transplant, IJEB is available at no cost to EBAA members and others in the profession.
This issue includes articles on the current state of DMEK tissue processing, the evolution of eye banking in Australia, and abstracts from EBAA’s scientific symposium in June. Visit eyebankingjournal.org to read these articles plus all our archived content.
Never Been There, Never Done That – Still Got the Shirt
Just because you didn’t participate in EBAA’s 34th Annual Run for Vision in San Francisco last month doesn’t mean you can’t look like you did. We have a few extra shirts that we’re making available to EBAA members who want to look like athletes but don’t have the time or inclination to run.
These high-tech long sleeve shirts are ideal for maintaining comfort and wicking away perspiration, and at just $20, they’re a low-cost way to burnish your athletic reputation. Supplies are limited, so place your order today.
The Focal Point: Advocacy and Legislative Update
EBAA reported on recent legislative and regulatory developments in the September 24, October 8, October 22, and November 5 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.
Stat Report Reminder
All 2019 monthly data through September 2019 should be submitted via EBAA Connect by October 31, 2019.
On Thursday, October 10, EBAA Members gathered to for important discussions during the Accreditation Board, Medical Advisory Board, and Board of Directors Meetings. Learn about some of the updates from this meeting below.
Medical Advisory Board (MAB)
The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) made and passed the following motions during its October 10 meeting:
- Approved the minutes from the June 7, 2019 meeting held in Scottsdale, AZ.
- Formed a subcommittee to review the Keratoplasty Infections Surveillance Survey (KISS).
- Voted to accept the recommendation from the Accreditation Board to add “Date and time that cooling of ocular tissues or body refrigeration begun’ to the L1.100 Matrix.
- Voted to accept the Technical Procedures Manual Subcommittee proposed changes to F1.200 and F1.300, and the addition of procedure F1.400 Pachymetry Measurement.
- Voted to accept the proposed changes to F1.300 which adds the minimum suitability standards for Keratoprosthesis.
- Voted to change E1.100 to require two applications of povidone-iodine solution prior to preservation. This change to the Medical Standards will be effective January 1, 2020.
- Formed a subcommittee to develop further recommendations on donor prep procedures.
- Voted to revise the listing of European countries in Appendix II: FDA-defined Contraindications to Transplant.
The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) has released the Minutes from their October 10, 2019 meeting, a Medical Advisory which highlights standard changes and the updated Medical Standards, which go into effect January 1, 2020. The EBAA Procedures Manual has been updated to include the new tissue evaluation procedures.
These documents can be found below and are also available in the Members’ Section of the EBAA website under Medical Advisory Board:
- MAB Meeting Minutes – October 10, 2019
- Medical Advisory – October 2019
- Medical Standards – October 10, 2019
- EBAA Procedures Manual – October 2019
Accreditation Board (AB)
The Accreditation Board has released the updated Accreditation Status List, and several inspection forms.
Below, please find links to these documents:
- Accreditation Status List – October 2019
- Site Inspection Prep Guide
- Pre-Inspection Instructions and Worksheets
- PIQ/SIQ with Tiers
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.
Cornea and Eye Banking Forum: Research and Innovation Front and Center
Research and innovation were at the forefront of the 2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, as Ophthalmologists and eye bank professionals from around the world gathered on October 11 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco for the day-long event jointly hosted by EBAA and Cornea Society.
A recap of the meeting is listed below, but additional information and highlights can be found on the Forum Highlights Page.
The Forum was moderated by Michelle K. Rhee, MD, and Anthony J. Aldave, MD, and included the presentation of 25 scientific abstracts, two mini-symposia with invited speakers, two award lectures, the presentation of four awards, lively debates and discussion, and much more.
The two invited sessions focused on the “Future of Eye Banking and Cornea Transplantation.” Speakers were invited to discuss the feasibility of various novel therapies and approaches for the management of limbal stem cell deficiency and corneal endothelial dysfunction.
During the Forum, the R. Townley Paton Award was presented to Dr. Shahzad Mian in recognition of his many contributions to EBAA, eye banking, corneal transplantation and sight restoration. After being introduced by the 2018 R. Townley Paton Award recipient, Dr. W. Barry Lee, Dr. Mian delivered the R. Townley Paton Lecture, “Defining Competency for Cornea Surgeons: Fellowship and Beyond.”
The Best Paper of Session was awarded to Shruti Sinha, MBBS, MS, Fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/ Schepens Eye Institute for her presentation, “Prevalence of Persistent Corneal Epithelial Defects in Chronic Ocular Graft-Versus-Host Disease.” The Best Paper of Session, was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Miracles in Sight, and is awarded by the EBAA and Cornea Society for the best paper presented by a medical student, resident, or cornea fellow.
The attendees have been excited sharing their feedback about the program:
- Everything from content, delivery, selection of topics was excellent.
- Great mix of young presenters and leaders in the field.
- I thought the whole forum was excellent
- Invited speakers were great. Very innovative.
- The paper session was very cutting edge and interesting.
With the presentation of new research, dynamic Q&A following each presentation, and open discussions and debates, the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum continues to be a success and a favorite among corneal surgeons and eye bank professionals. If you missed the Forum, or you would like to review the presentations again, purchase the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum on eyeLEARN!
Thank you to review committee, speakers, moderators, sponsors and attendees for making this year’s Forum a successful event!
2020 Technician Education Seminar: Register Today and Save Money
Registration for the 2020 Technician Education Seminar (TES) is currently open! The 2020 TES will take place February 20-22 at the Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The TES features online and in-person sessions on the practical, technical, and scientific aspects of eye banking. Through lectures, demonstrations, case studies, breakout sessions and interactive components, the experienced faculty will lead attendees through a comprehensive learning experience.
The TES continues to be a favorite for newer eye bank professionals. Here’s what past attendees have said about the TES:
- I appreciated having a chance to go over the online components at my own pace prior to the seminar.
- I had lots of fun and learned a lot!
- I hope all of my coworkers have the opportunity to attend the seminar.
- 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.
Take advantage of the low early bird rates; register today!
Learn About the Recent Altaire Recall on the December Webinar!
Wednesday, December 18, 1 PM Eastern
Join us on Wednesday, December 18, for the webinar, Total Recall: Compliance without Calamity. During this session, speakers will discuss the recent Altaire Pharmaceuticals recall and the regulatory, logistical, and operational aspects of implementing the recall. Attendees will learn more about the recall of critical supplies, what steps should be taken when similar situations arise, and how two eye banks responded to the recall to ensure the safety of tissue and the continuation of eye bank processes.
Attend this session to learn more about how other organizations navigated the recall and how to prepare for an unexpected recall in the future.
eyeLEARN: Access the Annual Meeting, Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, and Free Resources!
Have you had a chance to check out EBAA’s online education portal, eyeLEARN, recently? There is a lot going on over there!
EBAA is excited to announce that two recorded event packages are now available on-demand on eyeLEARN. If you attended either of the meetings in-person, a person discount code was sent to you this week.
2019 EBAA Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting package includes individual access to hours of educational sessions including the Donor Development Workshop, Quality Assurance Workshop, Technical Skills Workshop, Scientific Symposium, Medical Directors Symposium and much more!
Select presentations from the Annual Meeting are now available to members on eyeLEARN as free resources, including:
The Best Paper of Session Presentation: Ethics in Eye Banking: Understanding Attitudes Towards Industry Changes
EBAA Medical Standards: Recent Changes and Updates
The Crash-Course for New Medical Directors
EBAA Accreditation Inspections for Medical Directors: How to Help Your Eye Bank Prepare
2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum
The Cornea and Eye Banking Forum package includes individual access to all of the presentations from the Forum held in October. The R. Townley Paton Award Lecture is included in the package but is also available as a free resource.
In addition to these event packages and the free resources mentioned above, eyeLEARN also features a wide variety of previously recorded sessions, including yesterday’s presentation, Developing Ambassadors to Promote Your Organization’s Mission.
Explore eyeLEARN today to access a wide variety of on-demand resources!
Another Successful Slit Lamp Microscopy Seminar!
The 2019 Slit Lamp Microscopy Seminar took place October 24-25, at the Lions Gift of Sight. The spirits of the sixteen eye bank professionals were as bright as the yellow autumn leaves in St. Paul, Minnesota!
The seminar featured an updated curriculum and design that looked at tissue evaluation as it related to each layer of the cornea. The course was comprised of lectures on a variety of topics related to slit lamp microscopy and corneal disease, group tissue evaluations and hours of individual tissue evaluation alongside knowledgeable faculty and Lions Gift of Sight staff members.
The faculty for this year’s course included Kristen McCoy (Miracles in Sight), Jameson Clover (Lions VisionGift), Michael Tramber (Miracles in Sight), and Dr. Joshua Hou (Lions Gift of Sight). We were also grateful to have Lions Gift of Sight staff, Lori Pederson and Veronique Grimes, assist with the course.
Thank you to Lions Gift of Sight for generously hosting the seminar, providing tissue for evaluations, securing microscopes, and providing staff to assist with the evaluations. Thank you to Walman Instruments for providing slit lamp microscopes for the course.
Here’s what some of the attendees have said about their experience at this year’s seminar:
- Thank you for offering this course. It was educational and helpful in my training to learn how to use the slit lamp.
- It was the perfect mix of lecture and breakout sessions. I learned so very much and am much more confident in my abilities.
- I feel more comfortable assessing tissue suitability. It was helpful to interact with other eye bankers with similar skill level and weaknesses.
- My slit lamping skills have dramatically improved after taking this seminar. I feel more comfortable in my assessment of corneas.
- I gained a lot of knowledge and insight and I felt that it was a very valuable experience. I would recommend this course for anyone who wants to use a slit lamp in eye banking.
Thank you to the faculty, Lions Gift of Sight, Walman Instruments, and the attendees for making this year’s course a success!
Congratulations to the New Class of CEBTs!
EBAA is excited to announce the new class of Certified Eye Bank Technicians (CEBTs). The Fall Exam cycle took place October 12-26, and 17 individuals from the United States, Canada, and Saudi Arabia passed the exam.
Please join us in congratulating the individuals below!
CEBTs Expiring in 2019: Early Bird Deadline is November 29
The individuals listed here are Certified Eye Bank Technicians (CEBTs) whose status will expire on December 31, 2019. If there is anyone on this list who is no longer in eye banking or who should not be on this list, please notify Genevieve Casaceli.
To view CEUs online, log into the Members’ Portal, and select “My Professional Development” from the side menu. If you have met the requirements to recertify, simply fill out the application and submit it with payment. If you still need CEUs, check out the 2019 Annual Meeting package now available on eyeLEARN to earn CEUs!
Jachin Misko Memorial Scholarship: Nominate Someone to Attend the 2020 TES for FREE!
EBAA is currently accepting nominations for the 2020 Jachin Misko Memorial Scholarship for Technical Advancement in Eye Banking. In honor of Jachin Misko’s dedication to eye banking and technical innovation in the eye banking profession, Saving Sight is sponsoring the scholarship to provide for a highly motivated technician from an EBAA member eye bank to attend the 2020 Technician Education Seminar (TES) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The scholarship will provide up to $2,000 to cover travel, registration, and lodging costs to attend the seminar. All nominations must be submitted by the Executive Director, President, or CEO by Monday, November 18.
For more information about the scholarship or to nominate someone, click here.
Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship: Now Accepting Applications
The 2020 Mary Jane O’Neill Fellowship in International Eye Banking 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 an EBAA Member Host Eye Bank. Please share this information with international eye bank professionals who may be interested. The deadline to apply is January 3.
High Impact Research Grant Recipient and 2020 Topic Announced
Congratulations to Mark Daniell, MBBS, FRANZCO, FRACS, from Centre for Eye Research Australia in East Melbourne, Australia, for receiving the High Impact Research Grant in the amount of $50,000 to fund the proposal, “Tissue Engineered Corneal Endothelium.” In 2019, the topic for requested proposals was “Ex vivo Corneal Endothelial Cell Expansion.” Dr. Daniell is affiliated with Eversight, which will provide the tissue for his research. The award was announced during the 2019 Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, and the funding cycle will be November 1 through October 31.
In 2020, EBAA will open a request for proposals on “Cell Based Therapies for Corneal Diseases” and one proposal will be selected for funding with the High Impact Research Grant up to $50,000. The call for proposals will open in March.
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. Researchers looking to fund pilot projects, well-defined short-term protocols, or initial studies directed toward new research initiatives are encouraged to apply. Multiple grants up to $7,500 each will be awarded. Apply today!
2020 EBAA Annual Meeting: Submit a Proposal!
EBAA is looking for speakers and topics for the 2020 Annual Meeting, June 17-20, in Dallas, Texas. There are currently two opportunities to submit a proposal for presentation consideration. Submit a proposal today, and you could be a presenter at the next meeting!
Call for Presentation Proposals
Deadline: November 19
EBAA is accepting proposals for educational sessions to be presented at the 2020 Annual Meeting. If you have a suggestion for a topic and/or speaker that would be of interest to eye bank professionals and/or eye bank Medical Directors, we encourage you to submit a proposal. You could win a free one-night hotel stay or a free meeting registration just by submitting a proposal!
Renew Your Paton Society Membership by December 31
Attention physicians! If you are a current member of the R. Townley Paton Society, your membership will expire on December 31. The Paton Society membership year runs January through December and provides individuals with important member benefits including member pricing on all EBAA events, eligibility to serve on EBAA committees, opportunities to present to EBAA members, eligibility to apply for EBAA research grants, updates on EBAA Medical Standards, and much more!
To renew your membership, login to restoresight.org, select “My Transactions” from the left side menu and apply payment to the open invoice. Renew by November 18 to continue receiving the Cornea Journal without disruption.
If you are a physician or corneal surgeon who is interested in joining the Paton Society or have questions about your current membership, please contact Genevieve Casaceli.
Eye Donation Month
As you are well aware, it is Eye Donation Month! We hope you’ve visited EyeDonationMonth.org and are taking advantage of all the resources there to help you spread the word about your eye bank and the importance of eye donation within your communities and beyond! As a reminder, the site has:
- Fact sheets and infographics
- Printable posters, ads, and table tents
- Logos in various color patterns
- Powerpoint template
- Email signature
- Social media images, web banners, and tip sheet
- 2019 Eye Donation Month promotional video featuring Alice – the mother of a cornea donor
- Media toolkit with talking points, a sample pitch, and press release
- The official Eye Donation Month Congressional Proclamation and request letter
The “Eye Donation Month is Everywhere” social media campaign is in full swing! Please keep sharing your photos of your Eye Donation Month pins across all social platforms using #EyeDonationMonth and tagging us (@RestoreSight). We love sharing them! (We also might be awarding prizes for the eye banks most actively posting their photos!) Not part of the social media world? You can send them to Colleen@RestoreSight.org and she will post them for you. Feel free to send along any Eye Donation Month successes you’ve had: events, fund-raisers, speaking engagements, etc.
You make such a difference in people’s lives by helping give the gift of sight, we want to hear YOUR STORY. Why did you get into eye banking? Why is it rewarding to you?
Association Listserv Chatter: What You’ve Missed!
Here are some of the topics that you may have missed on the listservs this past month:
- The effects of Sodium Nitrate on corneal tissue
- The impact tissue incubators has had on tissue evaluation
- Storage solution expiry impact
- Advantages and disadvantages of using OCT
- Opinions on laminar flow hoods
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.
Eye Bank News
- Cincinnati Eye Bank: Tina Mays, CEBT is new Executive Director. Brendan Luckett CEBT is new Technical Director. Beh Binnion, CEBT is now Quality Assurance.
- VisionFirst has new address: 4745 Haven Point Blvd. Indianapolis, IN 46280
EBAA Staff Receive the Complete Eye Bank Experience!
Recently, EBAA staff members, Stacey Gardner and Genevieve Casaceli were invited to Miracles in Sight in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for an in-depth training on eye bank operations.
The trip was a quick one but filled with meaningful experiences and conversations. Here are some highlights from the trip:
- An airport pick-up from an MIS courier who used to be a competitive roller skate dancer
- A midnight recovery with a procurement specialist that ended on Friday, the 13th
- Meet and greet with the staff
- Informational presentations, a tour of the eye bank and a tour of the Museum of Eye Banking that is located at the eye bank
- One-on-one discussions with regulatory, technical, call center, and family services staff. There were demonstrations by technical staff, and heart-felt emotional conversations with the call center and family services representatives.
- The opportunity to perform a lab excision (don’t judge our cutting skills!)
- A home cooked meal to close out the whirlwind trip!
Thank you to the Miracles in Sight staff for spending the time and resources to educate EBAA staff, patiently answer an insane amount of questions, share their passion for what they do, and for providing an educational and enlightening experience that will help our staff better assist our members. A special thanks to Ingrid Schunder, Mike Tramber, and Dean Vavra, for everything that they did to make the visit an educational and memorable experience. The visit filled in a lot of gaps for the staff and is one they will never forget!