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.

New Findings Shed Light on Donor Cornea Storage Solutions

New Findings Shed Light on Donor Cornea Storage Solutions

Dr. Dan Polla, ARVO 2019

Previous studies in the field of corneal transplantation have determined the importance of endothelial cell density in the health of corneal tissue grafts in terms of graft success rate. According to new research presented this week at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Vancouver, differences in the storage media solutions can have an effect on endothelial cell density.

Through the study, a retrospective analysis was conducted on a donor database from the Kansas City-based nonprofit Saving Sight to compare eye bank donor corneal endothelial cell density (ECD) after storage in Optisol GS and Life4°C solutions. The data analyzed included 24,581 donated eye bank corneas from 2011 through 2017 stored in Optisol GS or Life4°C solutions.

This project was led by Daniel Polla, MD, Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, in collaboration with Saving Sight.

“My project looks at the different storage media solutions that donor corneas were stored in from 2011 to 2017 at Saving Sight. The preliminary findings demonstrate a small difference in endothelial cell density after storage in Optisol GS or Life4°C, with a higher ECD after storage in Optisol GS. The differences found between donor corneas in each of the storage media groups may be due to factors that were not accounted for over time such as changes in processing protocols, equipment used to measure ECD, and variability in specular microscopy. While it is possible that Optisol GS better preserves the endothelium, one potential cause for the small difference in ECD between groups is variation in endothelial cell visualization during specular microscopy due to differences in solution color,” said Dr. Polla.

“This research is important to the field of ophthalmology and corneal transplantation because it may influence the way that corneas are stored and/or evaluated prior to transplantation, ultimately leading to better graft success rates and outcomes for patients.” Dr. Polla added.

Saving Sight Chief Business Development Officer Patrick Gore, RN, CEBT, Director of Business Development Lynn Forest-Smith, and Chief Operating Officer Tina Livesay were co-authors on the study. As an eye bank that facilitates eye donation for transplant and research, the Saving Sight team is proud to support this project and to work in collaboration with Montefiore and Drs. Polla, Rand and Chuck.

“We collect a large amount of data on all of our donor cases and corneas as a part of normal operations. This was a great opportunity to have these data parameters analyzed collectively for this study. As an eye bank, this allows us to help researchers advance the field of corneal transplantation to help honor the gift of sight through better recipient outcomes,” said Tina Livesay, Saving Sight Chief Operating Officer.

This study highlights the importance of collaboration between eye banks, medical centers and researchers in advancing the fields of corneal transplantation and ophthalmology.

 

Abstract: 

An analysis of donor corneas stored in Optisol GS and Life4°C solutions

Authors: Daniel J. Polla MD, Gabriel M. Rand MD, Patrick K. Gore RN CEBT, Lynn Forest-Smith CEBT, Tina Livesay CEBT, Roy S. Chuck MD PhD

v

Research Findings - ARVO 2019

Dan Polla, MD, Ophthalmology resident at Montefiore Medical Center, details his latest research study with Saving Sight that he will present at ARVO 2019.

New Findings Presented on Factors Associated with DMEK Processing Damage

New Findings Presented on Factors Associated with DMEK Processing Damage

Dr. Gabriel Rand – ARVO 2019

According to new research presented this week at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Vancouver, several potential risk factors, including donor diabetes mellitus, can lead to damage during Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty processing.

There are limited studies identifying risk factors for damage when processing Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK), which has a high processing failure rate as compared to Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK). Through a study with lead researcher Gabriel Rand, MD, second year ophthalmology resident at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Saving Sight, an analysis of potential risk factors was performed. Collaborative research partner, Saving Sight performs a high volume of DMEK processing.

Through the study, a retrospective analysis was completed with logistic regressions on all 385 DMEK tissues processed from 319 eligible donors at Saving Sight from July 2014 to June 2017. The study concluded that eye bank DMEK processing has significant rates of damage and risk factors for processing failure including donor diabetes mellitus, individual technician ability and the technician learning curve.

“Myself, Dr. Chuck and a bunch of us here at Montefiore have been working with Saving Sight to prepare an abstract for ARVO this year,” said Dr. Rand. “The topic of the abstract is the effect that donor diabetes status has on the corneal transplant quality. This is a really important subject because diabetes is a disease that is increasing in prevalence every year and it’s a multisystem disease – it affects every single part of the body, the cornea notwithstanding. There’s really not a tremendous amount of literature on what the potential influences that donor diabetes status has on these cornea transplant tissues. So what our contribution is, is to add to the fund of knowledge and to really examine does a donor diabetes status affect endothelial cell health, does it affect preparation failure rates, things like this, so it’s been a really exciting research project for us.”

Saving Sight Chief Business Development Officer Patrick Gore, RN, CEBT, Director of Business Development Lynn Forest-Smith, and Chief Operating Officer Tina Livesay were co-authors on the study. As an eye bank that facilitates eye donation for transplant and research, the Saving Sight team is proud to support this project and to work in collaboration with Montefiore and Drs. Rand and Chuck.

“It is a privilege for me to work with such a devoted team at Montefiore who want to advance the science of ophthalmology,” said Lynn Forest-Smith, Director of Business Development at Saving Sight. “I have a real passion for the work we do at Saving Sight and teaming up with these folks allows us to take our findings back to the eye banks, apply what we learn to improve our services and ultimately, help more people see.”

This collaborative study helps advance the fields of corneal transplantation and ophthalmology between eye banks, medical centers and researchers and helps identify factors that contribute to better grafts and better outcomes for patients.

Abstract:

Factors associated with eye bank descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty processing damage

Authors: Gabriel M. Rand MD, Patrick K. Gore RN CEBT, Lynn Forest-Smith CEBT, Tina Livesay CEBT, Roy S. Chuck MD PhD

 

v

Research Findings - ARVO 2019

Gabriel Rand, MD, second-year Ophthalmology resident at Montefiore Medical Center, gives an overview of his recent research collaboration with Saving Sight for ARVO 2019

The Value of Research Collaborations – Eye Banks and Researchers

The Value of Research Collaborations – Eye Banks and Researchers

Saving Sight is honored to be co-authors with Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine on two research presentations at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Collaborating with ophthalmology residents and leading researchers and surgeons helps drive vision-research forward. These projects highlight how much is gained in advancing research in corneal transplantation through collaborations with eye banks, medical centers and researchers. Working together allows us to honor the gift of sight and advance the treatment of corneal disease.

“Some of our major presentations at the ARVO meeting this year are based on our partnership with the Saving Sight eye bank, who have been just a pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Roy Chuck, Chairman of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Montefiore Medical Center. “They are very forward looking in the world of eye banking in that they have gone ahead and developed a very organized and large electronic database. In this age of research in our field of ophthalmology, and really in medicine in general, it’s all about big data.”

“We think of ourselves as forward-thinking and part of the forward-thinking is figuring out appropriate ways to work with our partners outside of the academic community, which includes eye banks and industry. What you’ll see in our research are very good collaborations that are appropriate and the right way to look forward as we develop science in this new era,” added Dr. Chuck.

Dr. Roy Chuck, Dr. Gabriel Rand, and Dr. Dan Polla

Dr. Chuck is proud to work with his residents, Dr. Gabriel Rand and Dr. Dan Polla in their research endeavors. Drs. Polla and Rand are lead authors on the two research presentations that will be presented at ARVO 2019. Read why they value research collaborations:

 

v

“The collaboration between Saving Sight and Montefiore is very important and beneficial because we all ultimately have the same goal, which is to restore and improve sight in those in need. By collaborating, we are able to help each other be better in what we respectively do, ultimately leading to better outcomes on both fronts,” said Dan Polla, MD, Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center.

“Cornea and corneal transplants are such exciting field and I feel really lucky and grateful to be a part of it and to be doing research that makes an impact.”

v

“Working with Saving Sight has been an amazing opportunity for me. I’ve been working on research projects with them that involve looking at their large databases and trying to find factors that influence the quality of the corneal grafts that come out of the eye bank,” said Dr. Gabriel Rand, Second Year Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center. “This has been such an incredible opportunity because, not only as a resident do I get to experience taking care of patients in the clinic and operating room, but I can also participate in the science of advancing care for patients and helping to identify factors that contribute to better grafts and better patient outcomes.”     

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. 

 

Our Commitment to Changing Lives in 2018

Our Commitment to Changing Lives in 2018

Our Impact in 2018

Thanks to the many partners who help us facilitate the gift of eye donation, and to the thousands of individuals who said “yes” to giving that gift, we were able to impact the lives of more than 7 individuals a day last year.

Together, We Change Lives

2018 was a banner year, in which Saving Sight provided the gift of sight to even more individuals through the help of our many partners in donation. We’re proud to share our successes with you and humbled to say thank you for your support. We hope that you enjoy hearing the stories of those we’ve served this past year, and that you’ll take the opportunity to share their stories with others, as well. 

Make a Gift to Save Sight

Join us in the fight to save sight for others. Your generous gift to Saving Sight helps us provide the gift of sight to those waiting for a transplant. Give a one-time financial gift or join our monthly giving program to save others from the heartbreak of vision loss.