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Circle of Light Photo Project Comes to Lamar

MEDIA ADVISORY August 3, 2011 Miracle of Sight: New art exhibit shows the world through eyes that were once blind Lamar, Colo. - What if the blind could suddenly see? A unique art exhibit featuring photographs taken by people who were once blind but who can now see because of a corneal transplant opens on Thursday, August 11, at the Sand and Sage Fair in Lamar. The exhibit will remain on display in the Centennial building on the Prowers County Fairgrounds through August 13 and will then move to the Shore Arts Center in downtown Lamar August 13 through August 31. The exhibit is presented by the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank (RMLEB). Centura Health and Colorado Corneal Consultants, PC, are major sponsors of the project. The Southeast Colorado Arts Council was responsible for bringing the exhibit to Lamar. The exhibit photos are from the eye bank's Circle of Light Photo Project and were taken by people from around the United States who received cornea or sclera (the white part of the eye) transplants from an eye donor in Colorado or Wyoming. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank (RMLEB) asked recipients to pick up a camera and capture the things they were most grateful to be able to see through their restored vision. "I look at life in a completely different way since the transplant," said Karen Darnell, project participant from Grand Junction, Colorado. "I thank the donor's family in my prayers for giving me the gift of sight." The twenty-five photos featured in the exhibit were selected by professional photographers Lucia De Giovanni and Natascha Seideneck from over 150 photos submitted. Seideneck, an associate professor of art at Metropolitan State College of Denver, also conducted an online webinar to teach participants some basic photography skills. All of the photos submitted will also be featured in an online gallery via the eye bank's website in the coming months. 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. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank facilitates the donation and transplantation of more than 1,500 corneas each year from donors in Colorado and Wyoming. Since 1982, RMLEB has facilitated over 30,000 transplants. Contrary to popular belief, eye donors do not need good eyesight. Even donors who were legally blind are able to help someone else through donation and transplantation of their eye tissue. Colorado and Wyoming residents can register to be eye, organ and tissue donors at the time of driver's license renewal or online at www.DonateLifeColorado.org or www.DonateLifeWyoming.org. Registration forms will be available at the exhibit. Cornea transplant recipients know better than anyone the impact eye, organ and tissue donation can have on the lives of others. Through this project, the recipients had a chance to give back, honor their donor and show the world just how big that impact is. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank serves eye donors and their families and provides for sight-saving transplantation locally, nationally and worldwide. It is the recovery agency for donated eye tissue in Colorado and Wyoming. ### Editor: Backgrounders, statistics, and sample photos may be found in the online press room at www.corneas.org.