Support Saving Sight through Online Shopping

Support Saving Sight through Online Shopping

Thanks to AmazonSmile, you can support Saving Sight’s mission to change lives by saving sight when you shop online this holiday season and all year long. Simply shop at smile.amazon.com and pick Saving Sight as the charitable organization you want your purchases to support.

AmazonSmile features the same products, prices and Amazon Prime member benefits as Amazon.com with one awesome difference: Amazon donates 0.5% of all eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the nonprofit of your choice through the Amazon Smile Foundation. With AmazonSmile you can get the products you need and support Saving Sight’s charitable programs at no additional cost to you.

Follow these 4 simple steps to get involved with Saving Sight’s mission and support our important work through your online shopping.

  1. Visit smile.amazon.com.
  2. Login with your existing Amazon customer account or create a new account.
  3. Search “Saving Sight” in the “pick your own charitable organization” field and select “Saving Sight”.
  4. Shop and watch contributions to Saving Sight from your purchases grow.

If you have already completed these steps to set up your AmazonSmile account and designate Saving Sight as your charity of choice, thanks for your support! You will not need to set up your account again. Simply log-in and shop Amazon at smile.amazon.com to direct Amazon Smile Foundation contributions to Saving Sight.

Visit AmazonSmile here to learn more about the AmazonSmile Program.

Top Takeaways from AAO 2019

Top Takeaways from AAO 2019

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting was held in San Francisco this October. This meeting is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, bringing together leaders from around the world.

Our Saving Sight Team attends each year to learn about new trends in eye banking and ophthalmology, and to let our partners know innovations we are exploring. Attending also allows us to be a resource to our partners in sharing information to those who couldn’t attend or might have missed part of the meeting. This experience allows us to learn together side-by-side and be a stronger support to our partner surgeons in their work.

In case you missed AAO, or if you want a refresh, here are our top takeaways from the conference and presentations:

  1. Congratulations to Dr. Shahzad Mian on being awarded the R. Townley Paton Award at AAO 2019! This award is the Eye Bank Association of America’s highest honor for corneal physicians and is presented annually to an ophthalmologist in recognition of his/her outstanding contribution to eye banking and EBAA. Dr. Mian presented his R. Townley Paton Lecture entitled, Defining Competency for Cornea Surgeons: Fellowship and Beyond. During the lecture, Dr. Mian highlighted the goals of cornea fellowship in training physicians to provide the best care to patients. As the field of corneal transplantation continues to evolve, so too must training models and continuing education. His passion for education is clear, and our Saving Sight team was privileged to host Dr. Mian in St. Louis at our last DMEK wet lab in 2018. Saving Sight thanks Dr. Mian for his contributions to our DMEK wet lab and to the eye banking industry as a whole.
  2. During AAO, there was continued talk about the use of antifungals in Optisol. The EBAA reported a primary graft failure even with the use of antifungals. Some eye banks are increasing the concentration in hopes of improving efficacy. Many physicians are concerned about the possible toxic exposure to the tissue. This remains a controversial topic and few eye banks are adopting the use of antifungals.
  3. During the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum, an interesting lecture on the Comparison between Preloaded and Non-Preloaded Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty was presented. This was pertinent for our partners who are considering DMEK and preloaded DMEK. The conclusion outlined that preloaded DMEK “showed good efficacy with similar visual outcomes, reduced graft detachment and a significantly lower rebubbling rate, compared with non-preloaded DMEK.” In addition, the study showed preloaded DMEK surgery time was significantly shorter than non-preloaded DMEK, improving efficiencies in the operating room. Another presentation of interest during the Cornea and Eye Banking Forum was DSAEK Failure in Eyes with Pre-Existing Glaucoma. The study looked at risk factors for DSAEK failure in glaucomatous eyes. The conclusion suggests glaucoma is strongly associated with a greater risk of Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) failure.
  4. Several interesting articles were presented during Cornea Subspecialty Day, as well. Chief among them was EK Alphabet Soup: Which Flavor to Choose. This article by Dr. Marjan Farid provided a great summary on endothelial keratoplasty procedure choices, including DSAEK, DMEK, PDEK, and DWEK/DSO. The conclusion showed that EK is the standard-of-care for endothelial disease. In addition, DMEK provides better visual recovery; DSAEK is of value in complex eyes; and DWEK shows promise in central Fuchs-related cases. Cornea Subspecialty Day also had an interesting talk by Dr. Audrey Talley Rostov on an Update on Medical and Surgical Management of Dry Eye Disease. Dry eye disease affects more than 16 million people. One topic touched upon under pharmacologic management of dry eye is the use of serum tears. As co-founder and processor of Vital Tears autologous serum eye drops, this talk was very informative for Saving Sight to listen to. It allows us to see how Vital Tears and other techniques can be an asset to our physician partners.
Introducing Halo Sterile Tissues

Introducing Halo Sterile Tissues

Kansas City, Mo., September 2019 – Saving Sight is proud to offer Halo sterile tissues as another simple and convenient solution for our clinical partners. Halo sterile tissue allografts are currently used by ophthalmic surgeons worldwide as a glaucoma shunt cover, or for cornea surgeries like Keratoplasty, ALKP, DALK, and Boston Keratoprosthesis. The halo cornea is sterile and, as such, has no viable endothelial cells. In addition to the Halo sterile cornea, Saving Sight also offers Halo sterile sclera and sterile pericadium. Both are best suited for surgical use in glaucoma shunt coverage. This allows Saving Sight to provide another service to both cornea surgeons and those who specialize in glaucoma, in addition to continuing our work in recovering, processing and distributing donor tissue for corneal transplantation.

Benefits of Halo Sterile Tissues

Convenience: Tissues feature patented easy-peel packaging for fast and safe introduction to the surgical field.

Clarity: Halo Sterile Cornea is clear and will remain clear, resulting in simplified post-op assessment and improved patient cosmesis.

Shelf Stable:  Tissues remain at room temperature and never need reconstitution, so physicians can always have it available in their facility.

Sterility: Halo achieves industry standard sterility by using E-beam Sterilization. The reduced processing time limits environmental exposures.

In addition to offering halo sterile tissues, Saving Sight also offers whole scleraPlease contact our Client Services Team if you have any questions. Learn more at https://saving-sight.org/halo/. 

About Saving Sight

Saving Sight is a nonprofit eye bank with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in 1960, Saving Sight has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eye banks and is focused on providing innovative solutions to its clinical and research partners. Saving Sight welcomes customized research collaborations that meet your research tissue needs and strives to advance the field of corneal transplantation through dynamic collaborations with medical centers and researchers. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Saving Sight facilitates eye donation in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, serving transplantation and research specialists locally and around the world.

 

 

Continued Collaboration Leads to Further Study of the Development of Myopia

Continued Collaboration Leads to Further Study of the Development of Myopia

Continued Collaboration Leads to Further Study of the Development of Myopia

Lynn Forest-Smith, Director of Business Development at Saving Sight, with Dr. Jody Summers at ARVO 2019 in Vancouver.

Kansas City, Mo., August 21, 2019 – Jody Summers, PhD, professor of cell biology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, studies the extracellular matrix of the sclera and changes associated with myopia development. Myopia is largely regulated by the visual environment. Through her studies, she hopes to understand why myopia interacts the way it does so intervention is possible.

“Nearly 50 percent of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050,” says Dr. Summers. “In some countries, such as those in East Asia, myopia is the leading cause of blindness. It can be completely preventable with how the eye responds to the visual environment if we can learn why.”

As a postdoctoral fellow in ophthalmology, Dr. Summers identified that there was little research with regard to the sclera. “Through research, I discovered that the sclera is not just a static container in the eye. The sclera is actually very active and can alter its compositions to control the refractive state or length of the eye. What happens in myopia is the sclera begins to elongate. Because sclera is a very responsive tissue, we are trying to understand how sclera remodeling happens so we can work to regulate it – which has taken us to this study.”

Saving Sight was honored to be a co-author on a research project at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) with Dr. Summers, titled Isolation and Transcriptome Analyses of Choroidal Retinaldehyde Dehydrogenase-2 (RALDH2) Expressing Cells.

At ARVO 2017, Dr. Summers successfully isolated cells in the choroid (the vascular layer of the eye, located between the sclera and the retina) of both chick and human eyes which have been found to produce the enzyme retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (RALDH2).

“The ARVO abstract was preliminary research to see if we could isolate those cells,” says Dr. Summers. “We first had a pilot study where Saving Sight provided us with two, reduced fee whole globes. This showed we could isolate the retinoic acid in the choroid.”

In summer 2019, Dr. Summers received National Eye Institute at NIH funding to further study the isolated cells through transcriptome analyses. Part of that grant contributes to the fees associated with receiving 10 whole globes or poles (which is the whole eye minus the cornea) from Saving Sight. “This next step is to do it again and do the transcriptome analyses to identify the cells in the choroid that make the retinoic acid.”

Dr. Summers adds that retinoic acid is a powerful chemical and they are interested in identifying the cells that produce it. “If we identify these cell types we can, perhaps, use that information to develop strategy to control the synthesis of retinoic acid,” she says.

Since the human genome has been sequenced, Dr. Summers will be able to sequence the cells from the choroid and compare with the human genome sequence to gather more information as to which cell type is responsible for retinoic acid synthesis.

Collaboration between Researchers and Eye Banks

“I value working with Saving Sight because it was very easy to get the collaboration set up,” says Dr. Summers. “I love that they are interested in research and feel like it’s a two-way relationship. I’m really glad they are available and willing to introduce a new technique or procedure that is compatible for research.”

Dr. Summers adds that one of most valuable connections in eye banks and researchers working together is the ability for Saving Sight to provide human eye tissue for research. “NIH funded research hopes to help humans through the betterment of health. Being able to provide tissue like Saving Sight does under the conditions needed is of value because not many eye banks do that.”

About Saving Sight

Saving Sight is a nonprofit eye bank with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in 1960, Saving Sight has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eye banks and is focused on providing innovative solutions to its clinical and research partners. Saving Sight welcomes customized research collaborations that meet your research tissue needs and strives to advance the field of corneal transplantation through dynamic collaborations with medical centers and researchers. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Saving Sight facilitates eye donation in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, serving transplantation and research specialists locally and around the world.

Click here to learn more about Saving Sight’s customized research collaborations.

Support Saving Sight and Help Honor Eye Donors

Support Saving Sight and Help Honor Eye Donors

Last year, 2,559 heroes gave the gift of sight through eye donation with Saving Sight. Help us honor these donors on this year’s Donate Life Rose Parade Float.

Saving Sight has launched a t-shirt fundraiser with Bonfire, a shirt platform that works with nonprofit organizations. We will be selling three designs, available in July, August and September respectively. The proceeds from the sale of these shirts will be used to purchase roses in memory of our donors.

Each year, Donate Life’s Rose Parade float features riders representing transplant recipients; living donor walkers; and dozens of memorial “floragraph” portraits of deceased organ, eye and tissue donors. The deck of the float is also covered with thousands of dedicated roses with vials carrying personal messages of love, hope and remembrance.

To purchase a shirt, visit www.bonfire.com/store/saving-sight/. Shirts available for purchase July 1-21st, August 1-21st, and Sept 1-21st. At the conclusion of each campaign, the shirts will be shipped directly to the purchaser the last week of each month.

 

Saving Sight Thanks Outgoing Board of Directors and Introduces the 2019-2020 Board of Directors

Saving Sight is pleased to welcome three new people to its Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Welcome Council Chair Lion Walt Hamer, Vice-Council Chair Lion George Winkeler, Jr., and Lion Al Dohmen. Immediate Past Vice-Council Chair Lion Pat Scott will continue on the board representing Lions district M-5.

CC Lion Walt Hamer

VCC Lion George Winkeler, Jr.

M-6 Lion Al Dohmen

Board members are key to the organization’s success. They actively participate in long-range planning and monitor the organization’s financial health and overall performance. As highly visible members of their communities, the board members also enhance Saving Sight’s public standing by sharing the mission, accomplishments, and goals with Lions clubs, the general public, and other partner organizations. As Lion board members, these individuals also keep their districts informed about Saving Sight.

“We are able to change more lives by saving sight due to our board members engagement, leadership, support and oversight,” said Tony Bavuso, chief executive officer.

In addition to welcoming new members to the board, Saving Sight also expressed gratitude to three individuals who retired from the board of directors on June 1, 2019. “We were honored to have Lion Allen Lohsandt, PCC Ron Campbell, and PDG Stuart Payne serve on our board,” Bavuso said. “On behalf of the staff and the recipients of our programs, I thank them for their valuable service and wish them all the best.” PCC Ron Campbell was elected to a three year term as an honorary board of director member.

Board President Pat Martchink presenting Lion Allen Lohsandt with a plaque in recognition of his service.
Board President Pat Martchink presenting Lion Allen Lohsandt with a plaque in recognition of his service.
Board President Pat Martchink presenting PCC Ron Campbell with a plaque in recognition of his service.
Board President Pat Martchink presenting PDG Stuart Payne with a plaque in recognition of his service.

At the June Board of Directors meeting, the board elected its 2019-2020 leadership team.
These board members were elected to leadership roles for the new fiscal year:

President: Lion Pat Martchink, MD-26 M2
Vice President: IPCC Larry Boettcher, MD-26 M4
Treasurer: Lion Mike Oldelehr, MD-26 M7
Secretary: Lion Cassidy Obermark, OD, MD-26 M1

Congratulations to the leadership team. To see the full listing of Saving Sight’s board of directors, visit our Leadership Page.