Dr. Paton had trained with the famous Dr. William Holland Wilmer at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He later established his own practice in New York City and became affiliated with Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital.There he began to perform cornea transplants with tissue he obtained privately. One source of tissue was prisoners on death row.At the time, the death penalty was in practice, so Dr. Paton would make periodic visits to nearby Sing-Sing prison. With permission from proper authorities, he would obtain consent for donation from prisoners on death row and bring the donor tissue back to the hospital after a prisoner had been executed.It may have been on one of these late night forays that Dr. Paton came to the brilliant conclusion that what was needed was a system for collecting eye donations, processing them and distributing them to doctors for transplant surgeries.People could pledge their eyes in advance of their death, leaving a legacy of sight, just as they already made out their wills. He envisioned an eye bank.