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Mission & History

We want to create a world where those whose sight can be restored receive the help they need.
 
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Our Past Informs Our Future

The history of Miracles In Sight has at its roots the emergence of corneal transplant surgery in eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century. In 1951, a team of visionaries in North Carolina saw the possibilities in this revolutionary procedure and organized to lobby the state legislature for the establishment of The North Carolina Eye & Human Tissue Bank. This organization evolved to become The North Carolina Eye Bank in 1996, the fifth eye bank established in the United States. In 2014, the organization changed its name to Miracles In Sight to reflect the broader role it was playing in helping to restore sight through corneal transplantation.

The mission of Miracles In Sight is to recover, process and distribute ocular tissue for the restoration of sight through corneal transplantation and related medical therapy and research.

To accomplish our mission, we are committed to:

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Education

Educating the public and medical communities about the need for eye and tissue donors.

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Care

Ensuring that the wishes of donors and donor families are carried out to the greatest extent possible.

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Quality

Maintaining procedures to maximize quality of the tissue we distribute.

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Success

Cooperating with ophthalmologists and other professionals to ensure positive outcomes for the recipients of the tissue we recover.

1900to1949

1905

First corneal transplant conducted on a living donor in Moravia, now the Czech Republic

1931

Russian doctor conducts first corneal transplant using tissue from a deceased person

1944

Dr. R. Townley Paton leads a small group in forming the first eye bank in the United States

1950to1959

1951

North Carolina’s first eye bank is formed—The Eye-Bank for Restoring Sight—with headquarters in Winston-Salem

1960to1969

1961

With 33 charter members, the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) is launched in Chicago; Dr. Lawrence Byerly Holt of The N.C Eye Bank helps make EBAA the first organization in the U.S. to provide medical and ethical standards in eye donations; the N.C. Eye Bank becomes the central location for EBAA for the next 15 years

1964-1965

North Carolina’s Dr. Lawrence Byerly Holt serves as president of the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), the first ophthalmologist to do so

1969

The North Carolina legislature passes the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act making organ and tissue donation legally possible

1970to1979

1973

John W. Googe, a past president of the N.C. Eye Bank, serves as president of the Eye Bank Association of America

1974

An historic iteration in the evolution of eye banking occurs with the ability to move from whole eye to cornea donation; discovery of the M-K medium preserves corneas for up to seven days

1980to1989

1983

Eye Bank Association of America awards Dr. Lawrence Bylerly Holt the distinguished R. Townley Paton Award, the highest honor for corneal physicians

1985-1986

C.W. “Bill” Temples, past president of the N.C. Eye Bank, becomes chairman of the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA)

2000to2009

2005

In a pioneering advance, the N.C. Eye Bank becomes the first U.S. eye bank to provide physicians with pre-cut tissue so physicians don’t have to prepare it themselves in the operating room

2010to2013

2011

The N.C. Eye Bank celebrates its 60th anniversary on September 21

2011

The N.C. Eye Bank helps start an eye bank in India

2013

The N.C. Eye Bank donates $1 million to the North Carolina Eye Bank Multidisciplinary Surgical Skills Laboratory at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC, a state-of-the-art training facility

2014

2014

The N.C. Eye Bank forms a partnership with Winston-Salem-based Industries for the Blind (IFB) with a $950,000 donation to help expand IFB’s facilities and offerings

2014

The N.C. Eye Bank changes its name to Miracles In Sight (MIS)

2014

Dr. W. Craig Fowler, current associate medical director of MIS and past medical director of the N.C. Eye Bank, receives the R. Townley Paton Award from the Eye Bank Association of America, the highest honor for corneal physicians

2015

2015

Miracles In Sight expands its eye bank program through a new partnership in South Carolina

2016

2016

Miracles In Sight forms a partnership with [JITI], a girl’s school in India to train young women to become eye bank technicians

2016

Miracles In Sight starts offering four one-year fellowships each year to introduce physicians to and train them in state-of-the-art eye-banking processes

Tributes
  • In your time of sorrow, I just want you to know that what your family member has done for me has been life-giving, life enhancing and life-changing. Every day I say a prayer:  ”Please Grace, don’t ever let me forget to be thankful and humble and mindful and grateful for I could be blind.

    Bill H.

  • I feel honored that God made that sassy, smart, funny and compassionate girl my sister. I am a better person because of it. I know without a doubt that she would be so happy that her eyes were able to help you.

    Heather F.

  • When I was diagnosed with a progressive eye disease my only hope was corneal transplant surgery. I couldn’t believe that someone I didn’t even know would care enough to give their loved one’s corneas to me. Because of the gift of sight, I was able to touch the lives of others as an EMS technician.

    Gary G.