The CLEVELAND EYE BANK serves northeast Ohio by retrieving, evaluating, and distributing donated eye tissue for transplantation, research, and teaching. It is funded through processing fees, private donations, grants, and gifts. In its forty-seven-year history, the Eye Bank has provided nearly 15,000 corneas for transplants and approximately 12,500 eyes for teaching and research. It has also presented 5,000 educational community programs.
In 1958 Dr. Charles Thomas, Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at WESTERN RESERVE UNIV., was approached by the directors of the National Eye Bank in New York to create a central Eye Bank in Cleveland to serve as the supply center for sixteen states between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.
The Central Eye Bank was originally located at 10300 Carnegie Avenue, with its laboratory at UNIV. HOSPITALS OF CLEVELAND. DAVID INGALLS, SR. served as its first president, Dr. Thomas was medical director, and Ben Budd was executive director.
In 1964 the Central Eye Bank became the Cleveland Eye Bank. In 1974 the administrative offices were moved to the Sight Center at 1909 East 101 Street, with the lab remaining at University Hospitals. Also that year, Blanche Anthony, executive director since 1959, retired and was replaced by Cleo Dolan, while Frank Treco became president and William Reinhart, M.D., became medical director.
In 1982 Catherine Christiansen took the position of executive director. With Christiansen's retirement in 1990, Susan Janssen became executive director and, as of 2005, still held that post. When board president DAVID INGALLS, JR., son of the Eye Bank's founder, died in 1993, he was succeeded by James Sacher. In 1995 the Eye Bank consolidated its administrative and laboratory operations in one location at Univ. Hospitals.
The Cleveland Eye Bank is part of Vision Share, a cooperative eye tissue distribution center located in North Carolina. All fifteen Vision Share members are eye banks accredited by the Eye Bank Association of America. Aside from serving as an eye bank network in the United States, Vision Share explores potential markets for tissue donation, helping Europe and developing countries meet their citizens' growing need for eye tissue.