Industry Leaders Partner to Drive Bold Change in Corneal Care Globally

Industry Leaders Partner to Drive Bold Change in Corneal Care Globally
Two industry-leading CEOs – Robert Dempsey of TearClear and Claire Bonilla of SightLife – have joined forces to establish the Corporate and Surgeon Partners Program (CSPP), the first-ever public-private partnership dedicated to shaping and investing in solutions that accelerate our shared mission to eliminate corneal blindness by 2040.

“After learning more about the proven, innovative strategies that SightLife is employing in low- and middle-income countries around the world, I knew our ophthalmic community of business and surgeon leaders had insights and resources to lend,” said Mr. Dempsey. “Together, we have the power to accelerate SightLife’s impact and wipe out corneal blindness in our lifetime.”

Launched quietly but with great purpose and intention at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the CSPP has the twofold goal of convening and leveraging the collective expertise and tangible resources of its members to help SightLife and our global partners solve the greatest global health challenges in corneal care. To do so, the CSPP aligns around the following three key principles of engagement:

  • Immerse: Discuss to understand the opportunities and challenges in corneal blindness treatment and prevention globally.
  • Assess: Explore new ways to address issues or scale SightLife’s proven program models
  • Act: Identify resources, from capabilities to connections and funding, to drive impact.

“This remarkable partnership is comprised of bold leaders dedicated to ensuring all people have the opportunities that sight affords, from staying in school and maintaining independence, to sustaining a livelihood and providing for one’s family,” said Claire Bonilla, SightLife CEO. “The CSPP is key to scaling sight restoration and blindness prevention worldwide – helping everyone to receive the corneal care they need, when and where they need it.”   

The CSPP’s distinguished membership includes:

Corporate Members

  • Aerie Pharmaceuticals
  • Alcon
  • Bausch + Lomb
  • Dompé
  • EyePoint Pharmaceuticals
  • Eyevance Pharmaceuticals
  • Glaukos
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision
  • Novartis
  • Ocular Therapeutix
  • Santen
  • Sun Pharma
  • ZEISS

Corneal Transplant Surgeons

  • Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut
  • Dr. Marjan Farid, UCI Health
  • Dr. Bennie Jeng, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Dr. Dick Lindstrom, Minnesota Eye Consultants
  • Dr. Matt Oliva, Medical Eye Center
  • Dr. Audrey Talley Rostov, Northwest Eye Surgeons

At AAO 2019, CSPP members explored the complex challenge of global corneal care equipment maintenance, which is often seen as an expense rather than an investment by health care facility personnel in low- and middle-income countries. Since then, a sub-group comprised of corporate service center managers, biomedical engineers, and eye bank supervisors have conducted in-depth interviews with equipment maintenance experts to better assess and identify potential solutions. In addition, the CSPP is working to strengthen eye bank and equipment life-cycle management standards, establish a global eye bank equipment center of excellence, and build a digital platform to facilitate resource sharing and peer learning in regions disproportionately impacted by corneal injury and disease.

Demonstrating resiliency and adaptability amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSPP convened virtually in August to explore additional areas with high-impact potential. SightLife’s international program leaders presented our unique approach to tackling issues that perpetuate corneal blindness in low- and middle-income regions globally. Specifically, after we detailed how strengthening health systems is key to achieving our elimination mission, small groups discussed opportunities for innovative problem-solving and resource sharing to maximize impact. These conversations are ongoing and will be shared with the full group at the CSPP’s convening in November.

Interested in partnering with industry leaders to help accelerate SightLife’s mission? Contact Andrea Callis, SightLife Director, Corporate and Foundation Engagement, at Andrea.Callis@sightlife.org to learn more.