A letter from our President/CEO
Eversight began 2021 with renewed hope in sight. Vaccines were becoming available in the United States to our healthcare heroes and steadily rolled out to those most in need in our communities.
Despite ongoing pandemic challenges, Eversight and all our partners remained committed to changing lives through donation & transplantation, research & innovation, international & global development, and training & clinical education.
Thanks to your support in 2021, our impact was remarkable. Eversight provided 12,036 tissues for transplantation, research and education around the world. We placed tissue and collaborated with physicians and researchers in 29 countries, and facilitated training for nearly 900 clinicians.
Together with all our partners—advocates, donor families, transplant recipients, surgeons, Lions, fellow eye banks, healthcare leaders, philanthropic supporters and many others—we were united by the gift to make vision a reality for more people worldwide.
Eversight cannot do this work without you. Thank you for providing new life and independence to recipients, greater meaning to donor families, and hope for future vision loss treatments and cures. You are changing lives.
Donation & transplantation
Our mission in action is changing lives through donation and transplantation.
Research & innovation
See how technology, partnerships and clinical practices make a difference.
International & global development
We're creating solutions and implementing change around the world.
Donation & transplantation
“Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness; no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or woman unaided? Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?”
As a Lion herself, Connie Neese has always been an avid advocate for organ and tissue donation.
“I am very thankful for the relationship that Lions have with Eversight,” Connie said. “After learning about the organization, I wondered if I would ever need their services. As it turns out, I did."
In 2021, Connie received her first cornea transplant. The experience drastically improved her independence and allowed her to regain her social life.
Mr. Fix It
All his life, John Beach loved to fix things. He started riding his own dirt bike when he was 8 years old and from then on, he was hooked. As a teenager, his parents helped him build his own motorcycle from the ground up.
“If something was broken, John needed to fix it.” - Joy Beach, John’s mother
2021 was yet another unifying year with our 328 Lions Club partners, 134 volunteer ambassadors and countless advocates in all our communities. Lions united in giving over $158,000 to Eversight to achieve our mutual mission to prevent avoidable blindness and improve quality of life for those who are blind and visually impaired.
Together, vision advocates promoted public education and state donor registries, and joined our global eye bank and vision nonprofit partners to celebrate Eye Donation Month and World Sight Day.
Thank you for your continued dedication to restoring sight worldwide. Consider giving a gift today to support Eversight’s important vision advocacy work in your community and around the world.
Research & innovation
In 2021, Eversight made significant strides in research and innovations to find cures and treatments for blinding eye diseases and improve cornea transplant patient outcomes. Eversight proudly received the 2021 high impact grant from the Eye Bank Association of America to support our work with limbal stem cell procurement.
The goal of this research is to make possible the eye bank preparation and storage of tissue for use in simple limbal epithelial transplantation to treat limbal stem cell deficiency, a blinding eye condition.
Eversight is additionally grateful for the support of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the William G. and Helen C. Hoffman Foundation, The Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Foundation and the Lowell Johnson Foundation in advancing our sight-saving work.
Eversight was proud to partner with The Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Foundation once again in 2021 to advance research at Eversight’s Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research. Eversight’s history with the Ingalls Foundation dates back to the establishment of the Central Eye Bank for Sight Restoration in 1958. David Ingalls Sr., who established the Foundation, was the first board president of the Central Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, which later became Eversight.
Eversight’s continued partnership with the Ingalls Foundation is a testament to David Ingalls Sr.’s investment and dedication to fighting visual impairment and providing the opportunity to see for all those in need.
Real research, real impact
Eversight's research on the retinal manifestations of Sanfilippo syndrome—also called mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIC disorder—aims to help physicians better diagnose children, like Jonah Wood, who are in early stages of the disease, before behavioral and physical symptoms manifest.
Jonah is 11 years old and suffers from MPS IIIC. This terminal disorder is caused by a single genetic defect that leads to the progressive degeneration of the central nervous system. His mother, Jill Wood, co-founded a biotech company, Phoenix Nest, to provide families and children with this rare disease hope for the future.future.
Eversight is partnering with Phoenix Nest to better understand how MPS IIIC manifests in the retina, the nerve layer lining the back of the eye that senses light and sends electrical impulses through the optic nerve to the brain that enables sight. Findings from our study aim to help bring researchers one step closer to better understanding the physiological mechanisms of MPS IIIC and, one day, find a treatment or cure.
Consider a gift to Eversight today to further life-changing eye and vision research, and provide hope to families like Jonah’s.
International & global development
In 2021, continued travel restrictions and pandemic waves did not stop Eversight from working with 29 countries to make vision accessible internationally. Despite the challenges, we placed 3,496 tissues for transplantation outside the United States last year.
In South Korea, our team placed 730 tissues for transplant—the highest impact since our operations began there in 2015. Eversight is grateful to the Allene Reuss Memorial Trust for supporting ongoing international surgeon education and tissue placement in countries with little or no other source of cornea tissue.
“We are proud that, despite rapidly changing conditions around the world due to the ongoing pandemic, our teams remained flexible and adapted to the needs of the surgeons, patients and researchers in the countries we serve.” — Collin Ross, Vice President of Partner Relations & Global Development
Eversight provided 671 tissues for transplant in Pakistan in 2021.
Eversight continued to support the critical development of an eye bank network in Pakistan throughout the year. The country’s first eye bank was opened in 2019 at the Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi.
Development of additional eye banks to expand the network have slowed due to the pandemic, but Eversight remains dedicated to supporting continued advancements needed for Pakistan to one day have reliable and self-sustaining eye banking infrastructure.
Training & clinical education
Eye health heroes
Michael Szkarlat, Partner Relations Director at Eversight, was awarded the Eye Health Hero award from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
Szkarlat has the exceptional ability to look deep within Eversight and see the potential for innovation—from small- to large-scale improvements—that have an impact on the important work we do and the lives we touch.
He is one of many skilled team members—all eye health heroes in their own right—who are dedicated to making Eversight better every day. The Eversight team brings passion and determination to their critical sight-saving work, and continues to learn and develop their professional skills.
Making a lasting impact
In 2021, Eversight provided 67 training and education sessions to 898 surgeons, fellows, residents, coordinators and other clinicians. This represents a 40% increase in people trained over the prior record-setting year.
Eversight training and education include webinars, in-person and virtual wet labs, operating room support, eye tissue and banking education, and more. And the butterfly effect of these trainings is incalculable.
Each surgical coordinator will impact more lives through their improved knowledge of eye banking and tissue distribution. Each eye bank technician can offer new types of processed tissues to surgeons in their community. Each surgeon can provide better patient care for years to come through advanced transplant techniques.
And many may go on to train their peers, exponentially amplifying the impact. Eversight Medical Director and Board Member, Lorenzo J. Cervantes, MD, shares his experience contributing to a virtual training session Eversight hosted in partnership with the Philippine Cornea Society.
A letter from our Board Chair
It is a true honor and privilege to see Eversight’s impact grow year after year. While my term as Chair just began, I have been serving on the governing Board of Directors for six years and personally connected to Eversight’s mission since 1998, when my sister Ellen died of a brain aneurysm and became a life-changing eye, organ and tissue donor.
2021 was another exceptional year. We continued to meet the tissue demands of U.S. surgeons and their patients, while changing thousands of lives in South Korea, Pakistan and beyond. Globally, we continue to take meaningful steps toward transforming the future of vision care by supporting sustainable eye banking infrastructure and providing priceless clinical education.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank all our 2021 contributors for making our work possible and invite you to review our strong financial report for the year. Eversight’s mission has never been clearer, and we continue to forge a united path toward one day seeing a world without blindness.
Patty Jo Herndon
Closing with gratitude
Friends of Eversight,
I am continuously inspired by your unwavering support. Despite everything the world has thrown at you—an ongoing global pandemic, supply chain challenges and more—you never gave up. The numbers speak for themselves: In 2021, more philanthropic support was contributed than in any other year in Eversight’s history. That is all because of you.
In 2021, contributors gave a total of $1,535,264 to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Some highlights include:
- Edward N. & Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee gave the single-largest philanthropic gift Eversight has ever received: a $350,000 grant.
- Charitable support for our Gift of Sight program allowed us to waive $302,140 in fees for recovering and preparing transplantable tissue. This enabled 134 people to receive sight-restoring surgeries they could not otherwise afford.
- We established the Community Partners program to recognize businesses and professionals dedicated to advancing and supporting health and human services. Organ procurement organization, NJ Sharing Network, became our first Community Partner.
We are all united by the gift of sight—by our generosity, passion and dedication to vision. Eye donors and families, transplant recipients, surgeons, researchers, philanthropic partners and more—we all envision a better world and put our words into action.
Thank you for your generosity and kindness. Thousands of people are able to give and receive the gift of sight each year because of you. We look forward to continuing to partner with you in creating a world without preventable blindness.
Yours in service,
Vice President of Philanthropy
Our history of making an impact.