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InSights

Miracles In Sight Honored By IFB Solutions With 2018 Commodore Funderburk Visionary Award

Miracles In Sight President and CEO Dean Vavra is pictured with IFB Solutions Board Chair Ann Johnston

(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.) — Miracles In Sight (MIS), a nonprofit eye bank that recovers, processes and distributes ocular tissue, was honored for its continued partnership and support of IFB Solutions’  mission with the 2018 Commodore Funderburk Visionary Award. For many years, Miracles In Sight has been a strong supporter of IFB’s community outreach initiatives.

Miracles In Sight President and CEO Dean Vavra is pictured with IFB Solutions Board Chair Ann Johnston

Miracles In Sight President and CEO Dean Vavra accepted the award. Vavra has served on IFB’s board of directors since 2013 and was instrumental in connecting MIS with IFB to advance both organizations’ missions.

“Dean recognized the synergies between our two organizations and Miracles In Sight has been a generous supporter in helping us fulfill our mission of providing opportunities to people who are blind and visually impaired,” said IFB Solutions President and CEO David Horton. “We are incredibly appreciative of their partnership and support and congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.”

Miracles In Sight partnered with IFB in 2013 to create the Eye Care and Education Center and supported the launch of a mobile vision center with a nearly $1 million donation. It has advanced the mission of IFB’s SEE After School Program with the purchase of buses to transport blind or visually impaired children and teens to Tracy’s Little Red School House where they receive essential life and social skills. Miracles In Sight also partners with IFB at the Durham Community Low Vision Center.  

“We strive to make a positive impact on the lives of as many people who are living with curable blindness. It is an honor to receive this award,” said Vavra. “MIS is proud to support IFB and its programs. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come.”

The Commodore Funderburk Visionary Award is named after Commodore Funderburk who joined IFB Solutions as a mattress-maker in 1963. He could not hear, see or speak. In 41 years of working at IFB, he never missed a day of work.

MIS was presented with the award during IFB Solutions annual banquet in April.

About Miracles In Sight

Miracles In Sight (formerly the North Carolina Eye Bank), based in Winston-Salem, N.C., USA is one of the largest eye banks in the world. The mission of Miracles In Sight is to support the restoration, preservation, and enhancement of sight through transplant, research, education and innovation. A significant part of this mission is stewardship focused on training and educating the medical community and supporting partners and organizations around the world. For more information, visit www.miraclesinsight.org.

About IFB Solutions

IFB Solutions is a nonprofit corporation that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. In 2000, IFB began producing eyeglasses for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a customer partnership that remains today with IFB supplying eyeglasses to nearly 40 VA locations in the United States. As the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the United States, IFB operates the optical lab and a large-scale manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, N.C., along with manufacturing facilities in Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark. Through its operations and community support, IFB Solutions funds programs for adults and children who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, visit http://www.ifbsolutions.org/.

Restoring Vision Worldwide

Restoring Vision Worldwide

Miracles In Sight Aims To End Corneal Blindness

BY ISAAC L. PERRY, BS, MBA, CEBT

At Miracles In Sight, a nonprofit eye bank that recovers, processes, and distributes ocular tissue, our goal is to bring vision and hope to the world. We recover tissue from about 6,000 eyes each year, about 70% of which are transplanted. The tissue that doesn’t meet quality standards is used for surgical training or research at academic institutions. Our tissue preparation services cover all types of cornea surgery. What’s more, because the supply of corneal tissue in the United States exceeds demand, we distribute tissue internationally and continually find new ways to help the blind.

Future innovations revolve around the three core components of health care’s so-called iron triangle: cost, quality, and access. As we continue to develop our service offerings around these ideals, several fertile areas for innovation have emerged.

Making Key Connections

Miracles In Sight responds to notifications by the central organ procurement organization that someone has died and may be a candidate for donation. We discuss this option with families during a very difficult time in their lives, just hours after they have lost a loved one. Often, the death is unexpected and the donor may be relatively young. Ultimately, we want to gain consent and move forward with recovery, but we know firsthand that the decision to donate — while every generous and profound — is also extremely difficult, especially when it’s made at such a painful time.

Our goal as an organization is to continually strengthen our bonds with donors and families, recognizing their enormous generosity and, ultimately, helping them derive some meaning from a devastating loss. We let families know that thanks to their generosity, a blind person may regain his or her vision in a few days. Donor families are sent a thank you letter and a blanket as a token of appreciation.

Through community outreach, we strive to educate our local population about the benefits of donation with the goal of generating an open discussion. We encourage people to talk to their families about their desire to donate, so that if their family members are faced with an unexpected tragedy, they’re prepared to make the decision based on knowledge of their loved one’s wishes. This informed decision allows us to recover tissue more quickly, which can lead to better surgical outcomes.

Read the entire article in The Ophthalmic ASC’s February 2018 Edition.

OASC February 2018

Some Real “Miracles In Sight,” From Our Partners At Operation Sight

At Miracles In Sight, we provide many services related to the restoration of sight, including research and professional development, but our primary focus is recovering corneal tissue from those who chose to donate it—and then providing that tissue to ophthalmologists around the world for corneal transplant. One of the organizations we collaborate with is Operation Sight in our neighboring state of South Carolina. Operation Sight is, like us, a nonprofit organization. They provide free surgical care to uninsured South Carolina residents suffering from cataracts or urgent, sight threatening retinal disorders. Since they started in 2011, they have performed over 270 free surgeries.Read More

Miracles In Sight Fills Key Leadership Role

New Position to Help Change Future of Company and Eye Banking

Isaac Perry New Leadership Role MIS
Miracles In Sight has promoted Isaac Perry to Director of Research and Development.

(Winston-Salem, NC) – Miracles In Sight (MIS), one of the largest eye banks in the world is proud to announce it has promoted Isaac Perry to Director of Research and Development. Perry previously served as Director of Clinical Services at MIS.

In this newly created position, Perry is moving from the core, day-to-day operations of the eye bank to one that’s focused on the company’s future growth.

“I’ll be developing new products and services we can offer to both our current corneal surgeon partners and new customers,” Perry says. “The eye banking industry is maturing, and we are looking forward to ways we can contribute to advancement in our field.”

“Through Isaac’s role, MIS will be able to expand our services beyond traditional eye banking,” says Brenda Horn, Vice President of Business Development. “We can now look at products and services directed beyond the sole discipline of cornea that support our mission of restoration, preservation, and enhancement of sight through transplant, research and innovation – making it possible to help a wider base of patients who suffer from different sources of sight impairment.”

Perry is looking forward to using his extensive background in eye banking in this new position. He began at MIS more than eight years ago as a lab technician, working his way up to supervisor and management roles. He has a BS in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MBA from Wake Forest University, and has completed his core coursework for an Masters in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is also planning on taking the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® prestigious Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam in the coming months.

“I’ve always been intrigued by abstract concepts and solving problems,” Perry says. “I’m excited to use a combination of my business and medical backgrounds to drive the future of MIS. Historically, we’ve provided a safe cornea for transplant. With a new Director of Research and Development role, we can move forward to find ways to help optimize patient and practice flow. That could reduce the number of trips required for a patient to go to various clinics. We also have the potential for new service offerings that may optimize post-operative outcomes. Additionally, our goal is to offer brand new products that are not available yet, with an emphasis being better patient care and cost savings.”

“We have accrued a wealth of knowledge in our more than half-century of experience at MIS,” Perry adds. “We’re now in a position to use that to collaborate with our doctors to improve cost, quality and access to healthcare for patients we serve in new and different ways.”

About Miracles In Sight

Miracles In Sight (formerly the North Carolina Eye Bank), based in Winston-Salem, NC, USA is one of the largest eye banks in the world. The mission of Miracles In Sight is support the restoration, preservation, and enhancement of sight through transplant, research, education and innovation. A significant part of this mission is stewardship focused on training and educating the medical community and supporting partners and organizations around the world.

Miracles In Sight Participates In New Transplantation Procedure

Duke Eye Center Performs PDEK

A new procedure for corneal transplantation was performed successfully by doctors at Duke Eye Center last week.

Miracles In Sight, an eye bank-based in Winston-Salem, provided the ocular tissue for the surgery and prepared the graft for the transplant.

The procedure, called Pre-Descemet Endothelial Keratoplasty surgery, involves injecting an air bubble into a cornea that has been donated. The air bubble separates the cornea’s endothelium, descemet’s membrane, and the new Dua’s layer. Doing this creates a graft that is about 35 micrometers in thickness, according to the news release.

Read the entire article in Triad Business Journal.

Duke Eye Center Performs PDEK

Miracles In Sight Supports Cornea Research at Duke Eye Center

Miracles In Sight featured in Duke Eye Center's Vision 2017 magazine

Everyone knows that the human eye is made up of distinct parts and regions—the cornea, the retina, the optic nerve, and so on. It is less commonly understood, says Daniel Saban, PhD, that funding for research and treatment of eye disorders tends to be similarly divided and compartmentalized.

That’s why a recent $500,000 gift from Miracles In Sight to Duke Eye Center to support early career faculty research into diseases and disorders of the cornea is so important. The support, Saban says, brings together two rare but critical resources: funding for corneal research and expert scientists with the knowledge and skills to make important advances.

Read the entire article in Duke Eye Center’s 2017 Vision Magazine.

Vision 2017

Inspiration. Collaboration. Innovation.