Established in 1981, the EBAA (Eye Bank Association of America) Accreditation is an important benchmark for excellence in eye banking. This accreditation holds the seal of approval from several reputable federal agencies, including the FDA and CDC, signifying its importance in the field. EBAA Accreditation ensures the consistent safety and quality of ocular tissue by enforcing adherence to meticulously outlined medical standards, which the American Academy of Ophthalmology endorses. It is a testament to an eye bank’s commitment to upholding the highest standards.
The accreditation process is meticulous and entails a comprehensive review of various aspects of eye bank operations, policies, and personnel. A distinctive feature of EBAA Accreditation is the involvement of a dedicated team comprising an experienced eye banker and a corneal surgeon. This team undertakes site visits every three years, evaluating donor records, standard operating procedures, tissue documentation, and administrative records. They observe tissue recovery and processing techniques, thus ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of the eye bank’s practices.
The inspection results are presented before the EBAA’s Accreditation Board, a group of seasoned professionals within the field. Their deliberations determine whether an eye bank earns accreditation, requires corrective action, or faces potential status revocation. This rigorous evaluation underscores the significance of the EBAA Accreditation as an emblem of excellence, which directly impacts the safety and quality of the ocular tissues utilized in transplantation surgeries.
EBAA Accreditation signifies not only a commitment to safety and quality but also an unwavering dedication to the well-being of patients. It establishes a standard of excellence that fortifies confidence among medical professionals and patients. By fostering consistent adherence to the highest medical standards, the accreditation program ensures the preservation of ocular tissue quality, elevating the pursuit of restoring vision through transplantation.
As the Fourth of July approaches, many of us eagerly anticipate the vibrant fireworks displays illuminating the night sky. While these dazzling spectacles are a cherished tradition, protecting your eyes from potential dangers is important.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 9,000 fireworks-related injuries occur annually in the United States, with eye injuries accounting for 30% of these cases. Alarmingly, one-fourth of eye injuries from fireworks lead to permanent blindness. The majority of victims are children, and shockingly, sparklers alone contribute to one-third of fireworks-related injuries in children under the age of five.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides the following recommendations to ensure a safe celebration:
Never allow children to handle fireworks in any form.
Maintain a safe viewing distance of at least 500 feet or a quarter of a mile for optimal safety.
Leave the task of lighting fireworks to trained professionals.
Follow the instructions provided by event organizers and public safety personnel.
Respect safety barriers established to protect pyrotechnicians during their work.
If you encounter unexploded fireworks, do not touch them; promptly contact your local fire or police department.
Seek immediate medical attention if you sustain an eye injury from fireworks.
If you decide to set off fireworks yourself, take extra precautions and ensure that you adhere to all safety guidelines. Protect your eyes by wearing safety goggles and maintaining a safe distance from the fireworks. Furthermore, keep children a considerable distance away from the fireworks to prevent any accidents.
Wishing you a wonderful and injury-free Fourth of July from the team at Saving Sight!
At Saving Sight, the Business Development Department is responsible for driving growth and creating new business opportunities for the organization. With its focus on both existing and new customers, the department plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s reach and impact in the field of cornea donation and transplantation. The department’s responsibilities include building and maintaining strong relationships with surgeons and stakeholders, identifying growth potential with existing customers, and recruiting new surgeons. By prioritizing both the acquisition and retention of surgeons, the team ensures a steady stream of business and works towards Saving Sight’s mission of changing lives by saving sight.
The Business Development Department consists of three members: Patrick Gore, Lynn Forest-Smith, and Kevin Wright. They work collaboratively to develop working relationships with surgeons, analyze business opportunities, conduct market research, and provide training and education to physicians, technicians, and support staff. In addition, they actively engage with university programs to foster strong relationships and participate in industry conferences to stay updated on innovation and best practices.
The team spends time visiting physicians, attending meetings, and conducting research to ensure they are well-prepared for discussions with doctors. Education is also a significant aspect of their work, as they stay informed about advancements in ophthalmology to better support their physician partners. The work of the Business Development Department is crucial to the success of Saving Sight. By serving as effective liaisons between the organization and its external stakeholders, they ensure collaboration and build lasting relationships with surgeons. Their role requires innovation and adaptability to stay relevant and competitive in a constantly changing market
Looking ahead, the department is excited about upcoming projects and events that aim to meet customer needs and further the organization’s mission. One notable project is the development of a Continuing Education (CE) program for nurses and surgery center staff. This online program will provide CE credits and simplify the process for staff to fulfill their educational requirements, elevating Saving Sight to new heights in eye banking.
Overall, the Business Development Department plays a vital role in driving growth and creating opportunities for both Saving Sight and Vital Tears. Through their dedicated efforts, they establish and nurture relationships with surgeons, identify new business avenues, and ensure the organization remains competitive and impactful in the field of cornea donation and transplantation.
The Quality Assurance department is designed to prevent, detect, and correct deficiencies that may lead to circumstances that increase the risk of introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases, and is an integral part of Saving Sight and Vital Tears operations. At Saving Sight, the Quality Assurance Department is made up of three team members: Patrick Johnson – Director of Quality Improvement and Regulatory Affairs, Kristine Kennedy – Quality Improvement Specialist and Jessica Cody – Quality Improvement Specialist. While each member has their own responsibilities and title, “in the end, we are a team and complete all task as a team,” says Kristine Kennedy.
Like any department, each day is different, but in the Quality Assurance Department you can find them in meetings, working on projects, auditing different processes, not only in our main office in Kansas City but in each of our satellite offices. “Quality Assurance is part of every aspect of Saving Sight and Vital Tears” says Kristine Kennedy. This could be helping a team understand how to complete regulatory documentation or verifying that documentation is completed correctly. It might be improving SOPs for departments to clearly understand requirements or improve a process. Quality Assurance is a vital part of helping the organizations operate to stay in compliance and improve the overall quality of the operation. They are ultimately responsible for quality improvement and assurance, making sure we are following the rules set forth by HIPAA, Non-Conformance Management, both internal and external audits, OSHA incident tracking and supply and supplier management. No day is the same, but they play and important role in making sure we are being good stewards of the gift of sight.
“The Quality Assurance department has been a very rewarding job for me. I truly love being able to help other departments grow in their learning and support them in improving their processes. This roll requires organization, problem solving, “out of the box thinking,” and teamwork, just to name a few. I am so incredibly blessed to work with such amazing people that are dedicated to our mission. I have the best teammates EVER, that are always willing to step up, have each other’s back, and support one another” says Kristine Kennedy. Saving Sight truly is lucky to have such a caring and devoted group of people, all helping us in our mission to change lives by Saving Sight.
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!
[pictured L-R: Pat Martchink passing the gavel to Larry Boettcher; Cassidy Obermark being honored for her board service; the board meeting at the Kansas City C office at the June meeting.]
Kansas City, Mo. (July 1, 2021) – Saving Sight is pleased to welcome four new people to its Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Welcome Council Chair Lion Bob Noellsch, Vice-Council Chair Lion Devin Struttmann, Lion Mike Sliger, and Wichita community board member Marc Vincent. PDG Lion Scott Sattler remains on the board and switched seats to represent Lions District M-1, Lion Larry Boettcher was re-elected to a second term, as well as community members Jeff Schaeperkoetter and Amy Leslie.
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, 2021. We were honored to have PCC George Winkeler, Jr., PDG Roger Tiemann, and Lion Dr. Cassidy Obermark serve on our board and thank them for their valuable service.
At the June Board of Directors meeting, the board elected its 2021-2022 leadership team.
These board members were elected to leadership roles for the new fiscal year:
President: PCC Larry Boettcher, MD-26 M4
Vice President: Lion Pat Martchink, MD-26 M2
Treasurer: Lion Mike Oldelehr, MD-26 M7
Secretary: PDG Scott Sattler, MD-26 M1
At the June board meeting, past president Lion Pat Martchink ceremoniously passed the gavel to newly elected president PCC Larry Boettcher. Pat will serve as vice president for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to ensure a smooth leadership transition.