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June 2016 Issue

OCTOBER 5-8 – AAO

AAO October 15-18, 2016

Join us at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual conference, October 15-18 in Chicago.  SightLife will be sharing some BIG news, so we hope to see you there!

To learn more about the AAO annual conference or to register, visit http://www.aao.org/annual-meeting

 

MAY 7-10 – ASCRS Events Recap

Recap of SightLife at ASCRS, May 7–10, 2016

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS) in New Orleans in May, SightLife was proud to host six education sessions at our booth. We showed surgeons how to use thin tissue with the EndoSerter, and shared tips and tricks to improve DMEK procedures. We also partnered with Zeiss on two sessions in their booth using the new Rescan 700 microscope.  Thank you to those who joined us at ASCRS!  We will hold more sessions during the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting. Please watch for our schedule of events this summer.

 

MAY 3 – ARVO Reception Recap

ARVO Reception at SightLife HQ

On May 3rd, SightLife hosted a reception for Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) attendees at our world headquarters in Seattle.  The diverse group of attendee were treated to tours of our facilities, and learned more about SightLife’s work globally and domestically to accomplish our mission to eliminate corneal blindness by the year 2040.  We look forward to engaging more as we continue to help others see the world through new eyes!  If you are near one of our offices across the country and would like a tour, please let us know.  We can arrange a specialized visit with technicians and staff.

 

SIGHTLIFE SERVICES: Considering Getting Started in DMEK? SightLife Can Help

Research Tissue and DMEK Grafts for Practice

  • We offer research whole globes and DMEK pre-stripped grafts for surgeons interested in providing DMEK grafts to their patients. The feedback we have received from surgeons who have utilized this service has been very positive. Many consider practice tissue to be a critical first step in getting started with DMEK.
  • Prior to receiving your first DMEK graft from SightLife, our Tissue Processing Manager will contact you to answer any questions you may have on preparation or handling.

SightLife’s Back-Up DSAEK for DMEK Service

  • Upon request, we can provide you up to three pre-cut DSAEK back-up corneas for your DMEK cases. If you don’t use the back-up corneas, we request that you contact us immediately so that we can place the corneas with another surgeon. You will not be charged for this service. However, if for any reason you need to use both the DMEK cornea and the DSAEK back-up, SightLife will charge the full amount for both corneas. If the full amount is charged we can provide guidance on how to correctly bill for both corneas.
  • After three back-ups have been provided, if you wish to still receive pre-cut back-up tissue we are able to provide this service for a nominal service fee. If for any reason you need to use both the DMEK cornea and the DSAEK back-up, SightLife will charge the full amount for both corneas. The service fee will be waived. If the full amount is charged and you have any questions on how to bill for both corneas please let us know and we can provide you with guidance on how to do this correctly.

Our goal with back-up tissue is to provide you with extra assurance during your first few cases while maximizing our efforts to re-distribute unused, pre-cut corneas and honor the gift of donation.

If you have questions about DMEK or any other SightLife tissue service please contact us at 1-877-682-8502 or tissue@sightlife.org.

 

Ethiopia Surgeon Training

In partnership with Himalayan Cataract Project, SightLife hosted an intensive Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) Training Course in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at St. Paul’s Hospital April 10-13, 2016. Drs. Matthew Oliva, Doug Holsclaw, Michael Feilmeier and Srinivas Rao traveled from the United States and India to serve as faculty for the course. All of Ethiopia’s eight (8) corneal surgeons participated in the course, with an additional 45 ophthalmologists attending the lectures on the first day to learn about DSEK. 

The four-day program kicked off with lectures and case studies designed to improve each surgeon’s ability to diagnose indications, discuss different techniques and assign the treatment with the greatest chance of success. A wet lab followed, helping participants develop surgical skill in DSEK. After observing live surgeries, each participant completed two procedures under the guidance of course faculty. The next two days focused on postoperative review of patients, live surgeries, and management of surgical complications.

During the training, 35 patients were screened, and 17 patients received sight-restoring surgery. Since taking the course, Ethiopia’s corneal surgeons have already completed two additional DSEK surgeries. For the next 12 months, we’ll follow-up with the participants to check in on their progress and provide support where needed so they can continue to offer DSEK to patients.

In 2016, SightLife will train over 100 corneal surgeons in DSEK and advanced PKP techniques. For more information, or to get involved, please contact Josie Noah, Director, Global Surgeon Training Programs, at josie.noah@sightlife.org or +1-781-258-8122.

 

Contact us for help with reimbursement billing questions, contract negotiations and claims appeals.

SightLife has received feedback from surgeons across the country that hospitals and ASCs are having difficulty getting reimbursement for corneal tissue. We’ve even heard about facilities refusing to allow surgeons to perform corneal transplants because of lack of reimbursement.   If your practice has questions or is experiencing issues with obtaining full reimbursement from Medicare/Medicaid or private payers for corneal transplantation procedures or tissue, SightLife can help.  We provide our customers with reimbursement consulting and guidance in billing local Medicare carrier and other commercial insurance carriers. We can help with:

  • Billing questions
  • Contract negotiations
  • Claims appeals

This free service is provided by SightLife in collaboration with NMD HealthCare Consulting, and is designed to ensure proper, timely reimbursement.  We also have a document that outlines exactly how hospitals and ASCs should be obtaining reimbursement through Medicare.
For reimbursement assistance, contact Rusty Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer at 415-254-5818 or via email at rusty.kelly@sightlife.org.

 

A Rose Blooms in Kenya

The following story was written by Rose, a corneal transplant recipient in Kenya.

It all started with soreness then inflammation in my eye. I bought eye drops with steroids at a drug store, which aggravated the situation. I went to an ophthalmologist who found that my eye was developing an ulcer.  This caused a great deal of pain, and after a while my vision was gone.  The medics assured me it would get better, but my eye was oozing blood, pus and the pain both physically and emotionally was unbearable.  I lost my beauty, my vision. My self-confidence was gone.

I'm a teacher by profession. I depend on reading each and every day. I have to mark books and write on the chalk board. My pupils use pencils in writing, which is difficult to see. When this happened I was also a student myself finishing up my undergraduate degree. I was unable read as much as I needed because of the pain and the straining.

I am a single mother of one from a single parent family as well. I am the first born and therefore I hold the financial responsibility for my family.  I have a brother in school and a mother who requires regular medical attention. During this time our finances went down completely and we barely managed.

After six months of pain and waiting, it was time for the surgery. I was beyond excited. After the bandage was removed, I cried tears of joy because finally I could see again and was pain free. Cornea donation has indeed saved my life in so many ways—emotionally, socially and physically. I had heard that people donate body parts but I never once imagined that I would be a beneficiary.

The wife of my cornea donor, wrote to me a year after the death of her husband. She was still mourning and I could feel the pain in her words. I reached out to her from the deepest part of my heart with a lot of thanksgiving. I wanted to her to know that I was grateful and honored that she thought of helping a total stranger.

SightLife arranged a meeting between the two of us using Skype.   To say I was excited would be an understatement! She showed me her husband’s pictures and I couldn't believe I was looking at the man who lives on in me. All I could say was thank you.  I know they both are happy because he can see that he brought the smile back to my face.

Losing a loved one is not easy. It's not anything one would wish for, but it's the one way that all must travel. When you donate any part of that person, it means he is still alive in the recipient. I would like to thank all the brave donors and families for their kindness.  These decisions transform the lives of so many other people.  A donation means you have saved someone's life, like mine was saved. I had lost not just my eye, but the entire ME. A cornea transplant changed everything in my life and now I can do all the things I wanted to do.