Doyce Williams

President & CEO, Alabama Eye Bank

Doyce has served as President & CEO of the Alabama Eye Bank (AEB) (now Advancing Sight) for 36 years. A charter member of the Eye Bank Association of America, AEB is a Birmingham-based nonprofit whose objective is to obtain quality human eye tissue and distribute it to qualified physicians around the world

Doyce became AEB’s executive director when the eye bank was in its infancy. Under his leadership, they have been ranked as a top 10 eye bank in the world for 33 consecutive years. His hard work, vision and creativity are hallmarks of his success as a pacesetter for AEB and the eye banking industryAEB’s Global Sight Network initiative has filled a gap in the productivity distribution of the U.S. supply of donated corneas. According to the Eye Bank Association of America, AEB has provided over 75,000 corneas and eye tissues since 1980, generating over 6 billion dollars to the economies of the eye care community in 49 states and 54 countries.

In 2012, Doyce was appointed to serve on the Cornea Preservation Time Study (CPTS) Advisory Committee and in 2014, he was the recipient of the Eye Bank Association of America’s prestigious Leonard R. Heise Award, the highest honor given to an individual in the eye banking profession.

Doyce also supports other nonprofit organizations in the eye care community. He played a significant role in helping Sight Savers America (SSA) in its early years. He provided free office space and other in-kind donations. He also helped procure sponsorships and offered expert advice and recommendations. Jeff Haddox (President of SSA), said, “Doyce has been a good friend and important supporter of SSA and Alabama’s eye care community.”

Sight Savers America is honored to present our 2017 Hero For Sight Award to Doyce Williams for his lifelong impact on eye care in Alabama and beyond.

Artist:  George Mendoza

George Mendoza was born in New York City in 1955.  At the age of 15 he was diagnosed with a rare, incurable, degenerative eye disease, fundis flavimaculatus.  Effects of the disease caused him to lose all of his central vision and keep only a gray foggy fringe of peripheral vision.  In the center of his view he sees what he calls “kaleidoscope eyes” – intense and changing visual images of fiery suns, brightly burning eyes and colorful pinwheels.

A man of vision and courage, George went on to become a world-class runner, Olympic contender, author, and a motivational speaker to the youth and the disabled in America.  In 1993 he began to paint full-time.  Ironically, Mendoza’s paintings spring from the loss of his eyesight and a very special vision that took its place.

George Mendoza remembers physical sight.  His works derive from visual memories intertwined with dreams, visions, and emotional experiences.  Defying categorization, Mendoza paints figuratively and abstractly.  Sight Savers America selected George as their 2017 Hall W. Thompson Hero For Sight artist.  His painting is titled “Butterfly Dreams”.