In October, the Wichita community said farewell to a friend and visionary in eye care. Dr. Bruce Grene, the founder of Wichita-based Grene Vision Group, was also instrumental in establishing the Wichita Eye Foundation in 1986. With Dr. Grene’s support, the Eye Foundation would grow to eventually become the Kansas Eye Bank and Cornea Research Center, Inc., providing corneal tissue for transplant in Kansas and beyond. In 2021, the Wichita eye bank’s impact on local Kansas communities multiplied as it became a division of Saving Sight.
Dr. Bruce Grene was instrumental in establishing the Kansas Eye Bank.
Dr. Grene’s legacy can be seen in many facets of the practice of ophthalmology. His passion for ocular research and innovation led him to create Celluvisc, a worldwide product for treating surface eye disease and injury. Dr. Grene entrusted the royalties from the sale of Celluvisc to the Wichita Eye Foundation, helping to fund the Kansas Eye Bank’s growth and work in restoring sight.
In his creation of Grene Vision Group, Dr. Grene was ahead of his time in providing the best in patient care. He had the wisdom and foresight to create an integrated group of ophthalmology, optometry, and optical professionals working together to serve the community. Most importantly, Dr. Grene embodied a passion for serving patients.
“Bruce and I worked together for over two decades, and he was perhaps as charismatic and captivating of a person as I’d ever met,” said Dr. Dasa Gangadhar, ophthalmologist and original partner at Grene Vision Group. “The temperature in the room would go up when he walked in. He was loving, he was gentle, and he was a visionary.”
Dr. Grene is survived by his loving family and wife, Mary, who stood by his side during a difficult battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is also survived by countless patients who benefited from his work and many collaborators and coworkers who called him a friend. It’s in the same spirit of service that Saving Sight works to carry forth Dr. Grene’s vision of restoring sight.
To learn more about our history and the key individuals like Dr. Grene, who have worked to make restored vision a reality for others, visit www.saving-sight.org/about.
Celebrating restored vision and life honored through the gift of eye donation!
Eye Donation Month | November 2022
Join Saving Sight in celebrating the gift of sight and raising awareness about corneal donation and transplantation during Eye Donation Month in November. This annual observance, created by the Eye Bank Association of America, serves as an opportunity for eye banks, partners, and communities to commemorate the lives of individuals who have given vision to others through eye donation. The 2022 Eye Donation Month theme, “A New View,” celebrates the new perspective on life that corneal transplant recipients experience after having their sight restored, and the change in viewpoint donor families express when the pain of a loved one’s death is at least partially mitigated by the opportunity to share the gift of sight with someone in need of a transplant.
Celebrating a New View
Cynthia began losing her vision due to keratoconus at the young age of twenty. As an avid photographer, her vision loss was devastating. Thanks to the gifts of two cornea donors, today Cynthia has a new outlook on life, which is captured in her photographs!
One of the many ways that you can support Saving Sight’s mission to change lives by saving sight is to help us raise awareness for the need for eye donation and help get others to join the organ and tissue donor registry! Whether it’s making a goal to get a group of friends to register online, or sharing a story on social media about the life-changing gift of eye donation, Saving Sight has got you covered with resources.
Follow Saving Sight on Facebook at @WeSaveSight for stories to share all month long. And, when you’re on Facebook be sure to check out the Eye Bank Association of America’s profile picture frame commemorating Eye Donation Month. To access the profile picture frame just log into your personal Facebook account, click your profile picture and select “update profile picture” and then “add frame.” If you search for Eye Donation Month, you’ll find a special frame created just for November! Stay tuned to our social media feeds all month long for other extras like stickers and camera effects and how to use them!
Finally, please make sure that you are directing individuals to registerme.org as a call to action for them to sign up on the eye, organ and tissue donor registry! Their selfless decision may someday give others both life-changing and life-saving gifts.
Living Life With a New View
Watch Alexis recount the story of receiving restored vision from her corneal transplant and incredible gift from an eye donor.
For years, Karie of Kansas City, MO, suffered from reduced vision in her right eye after a bout with shingles while on chemotherapy. She was left with scarring from the shingles on her eye that impacted her vision and resulted in corneal blindness. At first, she was...
Neal's life took a transformative turn in April 2022 when he underwent a corneal transplant, bringing newfound hope and clarity to his world. Neal, a resident of Kansas City, suffered from Fuchs Dystrophy, a progressive eye condition that clouded his vision and...
As a funeral director, Diantha worked closely with the eye donation process for many years in her family’s funeral home. She often spoke with families whose loved ones had chosen to give the gift of sight, and therefore was very familiar with Saving Sight and its...
On July 2, 2021, Saving Sight distributed 6 corneal tissues to the Donor Network of Arizona to be used by one of their surgeons in Tanzania for a mission trip. Dr. LeeSa Jackson joined Dr. Elisante Jackson Muna at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center to perform a...
In 2018, Saving Sight began working with Dr. Fawad Zafar. Dr. Zafar is a urologist who lives in Iowa and also coordinates the acquisition of corneal tissue for transplant in Pakistan. “In April 2017, one of my class fellows who was a doctor, but left medical...
"My mom was extremely devoted to her family, especially her mother, two kids and five grandchildren. She had just gotten her first granddaughter after four boys and was so proud. She was extremely giving, to the point she’d go without so others had. She was an AMAZING...
Supporting our partner surgeons in their humanitarian efforts is one way Saving Sight is able to honor the gift of sight. These partnerships offer the possibility for restored vision for those who otherwise would not have access to care. Ukeme Umana, M.D., is a long...
In Memory of Jeannette Hendricks, 1980-2021 “We called her Nette and she was an awesome chick. Beloved by her family, and respected by peers. Nette was very intelligent and down to earth. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was very creative. She was always...
You can help us our quest to educate others about the life-changing gift of eye donation by purchasing our Eye Donation Month merchandise. Each image features the words of donor families and transplant recipients about how eye donation has provided hope and healing in their lives.
While fireworks are a beautiful and time-honored tradition associated with the holiday, it’s important that you take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Here are some quick facts about fireworks, and some tips to keep your vision safe this year while still enjoying the festive fun.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year in the U.S. Thirty percent of those are eye injuries, and one-fourth of those eye injuries result in blindness. What’s more, children account for the majority of fireworks-injury victims, and for children under 5, sparklers — which burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns — account for one-third of fireworks-related injuries.
For these reasons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages you to follow these recommendations:
Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
Follow directives given by event ushers and public safety personnel.
Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police department.
If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.
If you do decide to shoot off fireworks yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions, protect your eyes, and keep children a safe distance away. The staff at Saving Sight wishes you a safe and fun-filled Independence Day weekend!
Looking for More?
Want some additional Independence Day Safety tips? Check out our friends at the American Academy of Ophthalmology!
At Saving Sight, our Communications team is responsible for internal and external communications, sharing donor family and recipient stories, branding, marketing, and connecting with our Lions Club volunteers. Our job is to tell the story of our mission to connect and encourage stakeholders to join us in changing lives by saving sight.
Our team encourages recipients and donor families to share their stories with us and in turn, we share those stories through multiple channels. When a story is shared with us, we share it on our social media platforms, on our website, and during our mission moments internally. These mission-centered stories really help put into perspective our mission which is to change lives by saving sight. The stories shared with us not only remind us here at Saving Sight why we do this work and why donation is so important, but it also helps spread the word about donation.
Another area that the Communications team is responsible for is overseeing correspondence between donor families and recipients.Many recipients and donor families are interested in communication opportunities, so we offer the opportunity to correspond anonymously between donor families and recipients. When Saving Sight receives a letter, we send it on to the appropriate party and allow them to correspond back and forth.
We also support donor designation by recruiting volunteers to help us at events that spread awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation. By sending volunteer cards out in our weekly and monthly letters we hear back from people impacted by the work we do at Saving Sight. For example, we recently had a volunteer speaker at the Missouri State Capital for Donor Family Recognition Day and we are currently recruiting volunteers for future events.
With the help and support of Lions Clubs and our Lions board members, we can help communicate about the work we do with various stakeholders. We can connect donor families and recipients to help the healing process, share stories with our staff and on our social media and recruit volunteers to help with donor designation. Thank you for all the work you do in helping us change lives by saving sight.