(pictured above: IFB Employee Tameka Monroe speaks with the Eye Bank’s Dean Vavra and Katie Hall. (Below) IFB Employee Demarius Bowens checks over donor registration information.)
On Wednesday, March 19, blind and low-vision employees at Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind registered as eye donors with the North Carolina Eye Bank in recognition of March as National Eye Donor Month.
The North Carolina Eye Bank supports research to restore sight, and this research gives promise to everyone who is blind or visually impaired. The donor drive sent an important message that everyone is eligible to become an eye donor, even if they have profound vision challenges.
“When I was approached about becoming an eye donor, I was hesitant because I’ve been blind since I was 21,” said Anastasia Powell, an IFB employee who registered during the drive. “What changed my mind was learning about the important research made possible by the NC Eye Bank. The doctors don’t know what caused my blindness, but hopefully by donating my eyes, researchers will find the reason for my blindness and help someone else. Donating my eyes is an opportunity to give back and help enhance the quality of someone else’s life.”
“The North Carolina Eye Bank is committed to helping all North Carolinians with vision challenges, not just those whose sight can be restored through corneal transplants,” said Dean Vavra, executive director of The North Carolina Eye Bank. “We are very grateful to the many employees working at Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind for supporting our mission as registered eye donors.”
IFB is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1936 that provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. As one of the largest employers of people who are blind or visually impaired in the United States, IFB operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem and Asheville in addition to more than 40 office supply stores and optical centers across the country.
“I was born with very limited vision due to congenital macular degeneration, and I am very proud to be an eye donor,” said Annette Clinard, IFB director of Workforce Development. “The research conducted with ocular tissue provided by resources like the North Carolina Eye Bank is hopefully what discovers a cure for my disease as well as others that rob people of their vision.”
The North Carolina Eye Bank is the second largest eye bank in the United States. Its mission is to recover, process and distribute ocular tissue for the restoration of sight through corneal transplantation and related medical therapy and research.
For more information, visit www.nceyebank.org.