Hawaiian Eye & Retina 2021 – January 16-22, Maui

Hawaiian Eye & Retina 2021 – January 16-22, Maui

January 21, 2021-January 16, 2022

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Geoff’s Story

Geoff’s Story

October 5, 2020

Geoff is an active guy who always seems to be running. Whether he’s running a marathon or one of his many business ventures, he’s always moving and doesn’t know how to sit still. A bout with Shingles in his 40’s barely slowed him down, but while the lesion’s on his skin faded, the virus continued to damage and degrade the layers of his cornea in his left eye; causing corneal thinning and scarring.

As his vision began to fade he had to give up on many of the activities he’s always enjoyed, like skiing and back country trail running because he couldn’t see the terrain clearly. He likened his vision to looking through a layer of Vaseline on his eye. A series of infections and a rapidly growing cataract accelerated his need for a cornea transplant.

Geoff received his new cornea thanks to the anonymous donation made possible by a family shortly after their loved one’s passing. The cornea he needed to restore his sight was ready and available for him when he needed it most

and has restored his vision and given him back the opportunity to keep running forward.

Geoff and his family are profoundly aware of the sacrifice the donor and their family have made to make his life so much better, and are determined to pay it forward as an organ and tissue donor when their times come.

“I would like to thank the donor and the donor’s family for having the foresight to realize they could impact someone else’s life through the simple act of donation. Both my wife and I hope to be organ and tissue donors so that we too may be able to help someone someday.” 

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Thomas’s Story

Thomas’s Story

October 5, 2020

How does a professional dancer continue to work without his eyesight? A dancer since the age of 16, Thomas has spent a lifetime on the stage. He’s was a part of the first national tour of Cats, performing 8 shows a week across the country and continued his career in dance and choreography touring throughout Europe and Asia for almost 28 years. Currently he is a professor of Dance at University of Southern California Kaufman School of Dance in Los Angeles, teaching the next generation of dancers.

During one of his trips between Barcelona and Berlin, Thomas contracted a fungus that settled in his left eye — attacking his cornea and causing severe irritation and cloudy, blurred vision within a short period of time. He was hospitalized for over a month as the highly contagious fungus mutated and endured months of procedures and medications to stabilize his vision.

Thomas received a new cornea and lens to restore his vision and give him back a chance to dance, and teach, again. His corneal transplant was made possible because an anonymous donor and their family said “Yes to donation” at the end of their life.

Thomas is extremely grateful to his donor and their family for their generous Gift of Sight. “The transformative power of cornea donation is so powerful. No doctor can give you this sort of thing, this was given from a person who was so generous. It has transformed my life.”

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Christine’s Story

Christine’s Story

October 5, 2020

Christine is a busy mother of two and a dedicated high school English teacher, directing her school’s internship program for students to gain hands-on and practical experience for transition to college or beyond. She’s a self professed “Zumba Junkie” and enjoys spending time outdoors with her newly adopted rescue dog Sassy. She’s used to going full steam ahead, until she began noticing pain and loss of vision clarity when transitioning to and from direct sunlight.

For Christine, the change in her vision came at a time when she wasn’t sleeping well at night and as she didn’t have a history of vision issues, she tolerated the problem for some time before seeing an ophthalmologist. Her doctor discovered she had Fuch’s Dystrophy and the cells in her corneas were so swollen and crowded she would need emergency laser surgery in her left eye to reduce the pressure and save her sight. Cataracts added to her vision problem, and the trauma to her corneas removing them, led to the need for an immediate cornea transplant in her left eye.

Christine received the transplant using corneal tissue recovered from a donor shortly after their passing. This new cornea has allowed Christine to return to her active lifestyle with better vision and no pain. Eventually, she will have a second surgery on her right eye, but for now her vision and quality of life has improved dramatically.

As Christine puts it: “This surgery is really symbolic to me—I’m really seeing the world through different eyes and I’m so very thankful for the kindness of the donor and their family in making my Gift of Sight possible.”

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Larry’s Story

Larry’s Story

October 5, 2020

Larry has a gusto and a singular vision for life! A self-proclaimed Army brat and Air Force veteran, Larry has lived a life full of adventure and hard work with his wife of 60 years always by his side. After leaving the Air Force, he worked his way up the ladder with General Electric, retiring at the executive level only to go back to work with three more companies to stave off boredom and complacency. He loves to tinker and fix things and works out six days a week, putting others half his age to shame.

When Larry started noticing changes in his vision, he acted quickly to make sure he could continue to lead the life he loved. Diagnosed with Fuch’s Dystrophy, an eye disorder that causes the cells in the cornea to sluff off and die, Larry had his first cornea transplant in his left eye in 2015 and another in his right in 2020 to restore his vision and keep him active.

Each time he needed it, a donated cornea was available for him, thanks to the generosity and kindness of anonymous donors after their passing. Larry’s physician was able to choose a tissue that was exactly right for Larry and now he’s enjoying his active life once more.

“To me this is such a blessing . I’m full of gratitude and appreciation, and just so thankful that my donors were willing to do this for me. Had that person who died not done this, I would probably have gone blind and my life would have been completely different.”

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Lisa’s Story

Lisa’s Story

October 5, 2020

Lisa lives in the stunning Aspen valley and leads an extremely active lifestyle. She teaches science and physical education at an experiential learning school, spent many years as a wilderness guide with the forest service and conducts a youth adventure camp, mountain biking, climbing and hiking with kids throughout the summer.

Lisa began experiencing light sensitivity in one eye and her doctor’s discovered she had contracted a rare parasite in her eye. The invasion lead to extreme pain, cornea scarring and complete blindness in one eye in a matter of months.

Lisa endured eye scraping procedures, painful eye drops and months of uncertainty and depression before receiving a new lease on life through a cornea transplant. A few days before her surgery, an anonymous donor’s family said Yes to cornea donation at their loved one’s passing — Lisa received that person’s cornea.

Within a month of her transplant, Lisa was seeing again and all the pain she endured was gone. Now her vision is better than it has ever been and she has returned to the life she loves.

“I go outside every night to look at the stars and marvel in their beauty. I am so much more aware of the importance of sight and not taking it for granted. I give thanks every day for the donation that has changed my life and enabled me to continue doing the things I love.”

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AAO 2020

AAO 2020

November 14, 2020-November 17, 2020

Join us at the virtual AAO Annual Meeting. Meet with our Surgical Product Specialists and learn why we are move than an eye bank and how our extensive tissue service offerings and innovative products can help you give your patients the best possible outcomes.

Recent Articles

Richard’s Story

September 21, 2020

Christine is a busy mother of two and a dedicated high school
English teacher, directing her school’s internship program for
students to gain hands-on and practical experience for transition
to college or beyond. She’s a self professed “Zumba Junkie” and
enjoys spending time outdoors with her newly adopted rescue
dog Sassy. She’s used to going full steam ahead, until she began
noticing pain and loss of vision clarity when transitioning to and
from direct sunlight.
For Christine, the change in her vision came at a time when she
wasn’t sleeping well at night and as she didn’t have a history of
vision issues, she tolerated the problem for some time before
seeing an ophthalmologist. Her doctor discovered she had
Fuch’s Dystrophy and the cells in her corneas were so swollen and crowded she would need
emergency laser surgery in her left eye to reduce the pressure and save her sight. Cataracts added to
her vision problem, and the trauma to her corneas removing them, led to the need for an immediate
cornea transplant in her left eye.
Christine received the transplant using corneal tissue recovered
from a donor shortly after their passing. This new cornea has
allowed Christine to return to her active lifestyle with better
vision and no pain. Eventually, she will have a second surgery on
her right eye, but for now her vision and quality of life has
improved dramatically.
As Christine puts it: “This surgery is really symbolic to me—I’m
really seeing the world through different eyes and I’m so very
thankful for the kindness of the donor and their family in
making my Gift of Sight possible.”
In loving memory and tribute to the compassionate and
generous Gift of Sight to people in need.
Every year, thousands of people are affected by a treatable form of blindness, and through the
gracious decision to donate, these individuals gain the priceless and life-changing gift of sight.
Choosing to become a donor is choosing to be part of the solution to eliminate corneal blindness.
Thank you on behalf of CorneaGen and cornea recipients.

Recent Articles

Tom Frinzi Joins CorneaGen Board as Executive Chair

Tom Frinzi Joins CorneaGen Board as Executive Chair

August 13, 2020

CorneaGen, a mission-driven company committed to transforming how corneal surgeons treat and care for the cornea, today announced that Tom Frinzi has joined the company’s board as executive chair. Mr. Frinzi brings more than 40 years of expertise in clinical-to-commercial transition and fostering next-level growth within small to mid-size private equity companies and Fortune 500 corporations. His input will be critical to CorneaGen’s success in developing the next generation of cornea care to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide, starting with Cornea Cell Therapy Transplantation. Former board chair Dr. Bill Link and CorneaGen President and CEO Monty Montoya led the process to recruit Tom. Dr. Link will remain a key member of CorneaGen’s board of directors.

“Tom’s deep experience in bringing ophthalmology products to market and maximizing market potential is great for CorneaGen—he will have an active role in company strategy and development,” said Montoya. “Our leadership team is looking forward to leveraging his advice as we continue to develop CorneaGen into a customer-centric, revenue-generating engine to power our mission.” Mr. Frinzi recently retired from his position as worldwide president of Johnson & Johnson Vision, Surgical – which includes a broad ophthalmology portfolio across the areas of cataracts, refractive surgery (LASIK) and dry eye. He took the helm of the organization at the conclusion of Johnson & Johnson’s acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abbott. Mr. Frinzi joined AMO in January 2016 as senior vice president of Abbott Laboratories and president, Abbott Medical Optics.

“I have devoted my career to building companies that improve the vision—and lives—of people around the world,” said Mr. Frinzi. “CorneaGen is a purpose-driven organization, which is consistent with how I have managed my career, and I am excited to help them achieve their mission of eliminating corneal blindness by 2040.” Prior to joining Abbott, Mr. Frinzi held a number of leadership positions in ophthalmology and medical device companies. He served as president and CEO of WaveTec Vision, a developer of intraoperative aberrometry for cataract surgery. Mr. Frinzi built the WaveTec business by fundamentally changing product development, goto-market strategies and customer value propositions, resulting in a sale to Alcon in 2014. He also held senior positions in commercial operations, business development and sales and marketing at Bausch & Lomb Surgical, Refractec and Johnson & Johnson.

“I am pleased to have a long-time leader in the ophthalmic market join CorneaGen,” said Dr. Link, managing partner of Flying L Partners. “Tom’s insight and experience will serve the company well as we continue to innovate in the corneal therapy market.” In recognition of his leadership, expertise and vision in the field, Mr. Frinzi has received many accolades including the David Dulaney/AECOS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020, the 2017 ICONS of Industry Award from the Intraocular Implant & Refractive Society, India and the 2015 Ophthalmology Innovation Award from the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit. He was inducted into the International Intra-Ocular Implant Club in 2017 and voted among the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World of Ophthalmology by The Ophthalmologist in 2018. Mr. Frinzi earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tampa.

About CorneaGen

CorneaGen is a mission-driven company committed to transforming how corneal surgeons treat and care for the cornea. Based in Seattle, the company is innovating the next generation of cornea care, from new medical devices and biologics to treatments and interventions. CorneaGen supports corneal surgeons and their patients with a spectrum of services, including the latest in innovative products, delivery of the highest quality tissue, surgeon education, and advocacy for patient access and reimbursement policies. https://corneagen.com

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David Rostov Joins CorneaGen as Chief Financial Officer

David Rostov Joins CorneaGen as Chief Financial Officer

April 21, 2020

CorneaGen, a mission-driven company committed to transforming how corneal surgeons treat and care for the cornea, today announced that David Rostov has joined the company as chief financial officer. Rostov has more than 20 years of C-suite experience in scaling fast-growing technology companies, mergers and acqusitions and corporate fundraising. His skills will be critical to CorneaGen’s success in innovating and leveraging the next generation of cornea care to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide, starting with Cornea Cell Therapy Transplantation.

“David rose to the top of a very competitive field of highly qualified candidates,” said CorneaGen President and CEO Monty Montoya. “His deep experience and leadership style are a great fit for CorneaGen’s culture and where we are headed in the future.”

Rostov recently served as CFO at Donuts Inc., a provider of services for digital identity management, where his efforts resulted in accelerated year-over-year growth with high EBITDA profitability and a successful sale to a private equity firm. Rostov also held the CFO role at Avalara, which offers a cloud-based software solution for transactional taxes, and at Infospace, a publicly traded internet services company. He was responsible for increased efficiency, certain key acquisitions and helped support dramatic annual revenue growth for both organizations. Rostov also was part of the management team that launched drugstore.com, helped grow the business and took the company public.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join CorneaGen and help lead them into the future of cornea care,” said Rostov. “I have deep ties to the mission and am passionate about helping that mission forward.”

Rostov has taken a personal interest in cause-related ophthalmology for many years. As CFO of CorneaGen, he will use his financial expertise to ensure the company has a strong balance sheet and the financial capabilities to accelerate its mission to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide by 2040.

About CorneaGen

CorneaGen is a mission-driven company committed to transforming how corneal surgeons treat and care for the cornea. Based in Seattle, the company is innovating the next generation of cornea care, from new medical devices and biologics to treatments and interventions. CorneaGen supports corneal surgeons and their patients with a spectrum of services, including the latest in innovative products, delivery of the highest quality tissue, surgeon education, and advocacy for patient access and reimbursement policies. https://corneagen.com

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