Combined, the companies say they will create the largest eye bank, tissue recovery and ocular research center in the world.
Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research, a nonprofit dedicated to saving eyesight through tissue donation and transplantation, has forged an agreement to acquire SightLife of Seattle, Washington, one of the top eye banks in the nation.
Combined, the nonprofit will be the largest eye bank, tissue recovery and ocular research center in the world with nearly 300 employees. By expanding its reach, Lions Eye Institute noted in a news release that it will improve eye health for more than 12,000 additional patients of all ages and improve eye healthcare for thousands worldwide.
“At Lions Eye Institute, our vision is simple: to help others see,” Jason Woody, president and CEO of Lions Eye Institute, said in the news release. “We are driven to improve visual outcomes and quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, and we make that happen by creating innovations—new technology, new procedures, and new ways to collect and transplant tissue from compassionate donors."
Woody also noted in the news release that the partnership with SightLife takes Lions Eye Institute’s ability to accomplish that mission to the next level.
According to the news release, the new partnership will increase the number of vision-saving transplants Lions Eye Institute can support each year, strengthen connections to physicians treating the 12.7 million people living with corneal blindness worldwide, and provide more than 20,000 corneas to waiting recipients around the world.
Jim McCorkle, Interim CEO of SightLife, noted in the news release that the company is proud of its more than 50-year history of providing corneal tissue, international eye bank development, and prevention programs around the world.
“This new relationship with Lions Eye Institute will carry that vital tradition forward,” he said in the news release. “We look forward to serving even more people around the United States and the world through corneal transplantation, innovation and research, and international eye banking.”
According to the news release, as the two companies come together, they will rebrand themselves with a new name, reflecting their role in ocular and tissue research worldwide. The combined organization will be headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and significant operations will continue at SightLife’s facilities in Seattle.
Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research is the largest combined eye bank, tissue recovery, and ocular research center in the world. It serves as the bridge between tissue donation and transplantation. Both it and SightLife are nonprofit, charitable organizations dedicated to the recovery, evaluation, and distribution of eye tissue for transplantation, research, and education. Since the inception of both programs, they have brought the “Gift of Sight” to more than 500,000 men, women, and children worldwide.