"I present to you, Lions, an opportunity: promote and support the American Foundation for the Blind's efforts. Will you not aid me in hastening the day when there will be no avoidable blindness, no small blind and deaf infant left untaught, and no blind person left alone? I call upon you Lions, you who possess sight, hearing, strength, bravery, and kindness. Don't you think you should declare yourselves Knights of the Blind in this battle against the dark?"

– Helen Keller

International Convention
Cedar Point, Ohio, USA
June 30, 1925

And so with that, Challenge accepted!  The Lions took charge and began their efforts bringing sight to the sightless.

Who We Are?

We are The Lions Eye Bank of the Northeast (LEBNE), a non-profit organization led and developed to help anyone and everyone in need, WORLDWIDE!  Here at the LEBNE we strive to bring attention to eye donation, working directly with grieving families and transplant recipients for over 70 years. We are proud and with pride bring sight to the sightless, showing compassion and understanding in the process. We work closely with hospitals, hospices, and funeral homes, while showing compassion with the grieving process.  

For over 70 years the LEBNE has been in operation, demonstrating an 89% transplant rate where the national average is only 68%. In 2022, LEBNE worked with over 600 grieving families to facilitate eye donation with 1041 corneas transplanted.  The most donors in our history! We were able to place corneas in 21 different states and in 13 countries!   


How it all began -
In March 1951, an article in the New York State Lion entitled, "The Cow's Tail" was written about seven Lions Clubs that founded the Buffalo Eye-Bank and Research Society in 1949, the Lions Blind Seal Campaign which brought in contributions for the maintenance of the Society and the 14 blind persons whose sight had been restored by corneal transplants.  The story’s impact was felt throughout NY State and inspired Nicholas Michailoff and others of the Schenectady Lions Club to consider the need for an eye bank in their area.  Once the need was determined and confirmed, other Lions Clubs were contacted for support.  In September 1951 a Steering Committee made up of area Lions Club members was formed, taking eight months to gather information and solicit backing from County Medical Societies and other Lions Clubs.  At that time, individual members were sought for charter memberships of the Society.

On June 12, 1952, during a meeting, the Sight Conservation Society of Northeastern New York was officially organized. The agency then went through a name change and today is known as the Sight Society of Northeastern NY, Inc (SSNENY). Under the SSNENY, an eye bank was established and named the Lions Eye Bank at Albany (LEBA) and began serving 29 counties in Northeastern NY and Great Barrington, MA.  

In 2015, SSNENY acquired the eye recovery program of the Rochester/Finger Lakes Eye & Tissue Bank and began serving 21 counties in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central and Northern NY regions as Lions Eye Bank at Rochester (LEBR).  


Lions Eye Bank of the Northeast is dedicated to providing ocular tissue for transplantation, medical education and research. 


Lions Eye Bank of the Northeast will serve as a resource center for visual advocacy.