Imagine trying to simply tie a shoelace when you see it (and everything else) as only an unrecognizable mass. Then imagine the miraculous results achieved by corneal transplants that allow patients to see. At this year’s Circle of Light reception and photo display, guests could take part in, quite literally, an eye-opening, interactive “corneal blindness experience” to help understand the journey of corneal-transplant patients. Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank (RMLEB) hosted the fundraiser that featured photographs taken by cornea recipients who went from blindness to sight. Their subject matter? The things they are most grateful to see.

Cornea-transplant photographer John and Patsy Capra by John's work "Fish."

Cornea-transplant photographer John and Patsy Capra by John’s work “Fish.”

On Thursday, March 10, almost 200 RMLEB supporters attended the annual reception and photo display held at Space Gallery, beginning with an hour-long VIP champagne soiree. Guests included doctors, sponsors, cornea recipients and donor families—all able to appreciate the artistry and finesse of the photographs, as well as the story of each photographer. The photos were available for purchase throughout the evening as part of the silent auction, which also included travel and entertainment packages, and some winning sports collectibles.

Everyday tasks aren't so easy, as this "corneal blindness experience" guest discovers.

Everyday tasks aren’t so easy, as this “corneal blindness experience” guest discovers.

The exhibit photos were part of the eye bank’s Circle of Light Photo Project, taken by people from all around the state who received cornea transplants from an eye donor in Colorado or Wyoming. Through this project, recipients have a chance to give back, honor their donor and show the world just how big an impact tissue donations can be. All proceeds from the fundraiser benefit the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, the nonprofit organization responsible for keeping its promise to help others see again through eye, organ and tissue donation.

Cornea transplants are a cure for corneal blindness, which accounts for about 10 percent of all blindness. Each year, approximately 600 people in Colorado and Wyoming receive sight-restorative transplants. In 2015, the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank facilitated the donation and transplantation of corneas from 2,355 eye donors in Colorado and Wyoming—those donations resulted in 2,220 sight-restorative transplants. Since 1982, RMLEB has facilitated over 40,000 transplants.

RMLEB, the recovery agency for donated eye tissue in Colorado and Wyoming, continues to serve eye donors and their families, and provides for sight-saving transplantation locally, nationally and worldwide. For more information, please visit: www.corneas.org.