Dive into the history of Eversight and eye banking

The start of our life-changing work

Our mission began in 1947 with the establishment of the fourth eye bank in the United States, then known as the Illinois Eye-Bank. Over time, nonprofit eye banks were established in every state to meet the critical demand for corneal tissue to treat preventable blindness, including in Michigan where Eversight is headquartered today. 

Robert Tilford, a pharmacist and president of the Ann Arbor Host Lions Club, proposed the formation of an eye bank in 1956. The following January, the club appropriated the money necessary to get started. 

“The facilities of the fledging Eye-Bank were modest to say the least. There was no staff. Everything was done by members of the Board of Directors and other volunteers. There was one steel desk donated by the University Hospital in a small office opposite the morgue in the basement of ‘Old Main’ Hospital.”
Ann Arbor Host Lions Club

In 2015, one of the largest networks of eye banks in the U.S–founded by local Lions Clubs–became known as Eversight.  

In the past 30 years our impact has skyrocketed, tripling the number of donors and families giving the gift of sight and quadrupling sight-restoring transplants and tissues provided for research and education. 

Before modern eye banking and donation practices, the process of donor tissue recovery and cornea transplantation was very different and early eye banking was wholly reliant on volunteerism, good will and grassroots dedication to restoring sight. 
Explore Eversight’s past, follow the cornea and read about the evolution of eye banking in our full 2022 impact report.  

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In this season of gratitude, Eversight has launched a matching


campaign to impact even more lives. Please consider supporting Eversight and help us earn a generous $4,000 match from our Board of Directors.

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