Mission & History

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

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:



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



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



Maintaining procedures to maximize quality of the tissue we distribute.



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



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


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


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



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



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


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


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



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


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



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


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



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



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


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


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



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


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


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



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



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


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

  • 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.