Monday, July 25 , 2016, 3:31 pm | Fair 76º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 

San Diego Doctor Teams Up with SEE International to Fight Preventable Blindness

SEE International is proud to congratulate Dr. Ann Hornby for a successful surgical expedition to treat blindness in Tecate, Mexico.

SEE doc
Dr. Ann Hornby with one of her cataract patients. (SEE International photo)

During the expedition, which took place on May 17, Dr. Hornby and her fellow volunteer ophthalmologists, or “SEE Docs,” treated 10 individuals suffering from cataracts. This is hardly Dr. Hornby’s first humanitarian trip to Tecate, however — indeed, she has participated in 12 SEE expeditions there since 2009, as well as trips to Bolivia, Peru, Honduras and the Philippines.

The clinic in Tecate is one of SEE’s oldest continuously operating sites; since its foundation in 2005, more than 500 men, women and children have had their sight restored, thanks to the generous volunteer work of SEE Docs.

Dr. Hornby, who boasts over 30 years of experience as an ophthalmologist (and 28 years as a volunteer), does not characterize herself as a particularly risk-loving person.

“I’m sort of a coward,” she confesses ruefully. “I hate heights, and I don’t like extreme sports like rock climbing or motorcycle racing.”

Traveling the world and volunteering her skills to help those who need it the most, however, is her kind of adventure.

“I feel like I’m Indiana Jones when I’m on an expedition!” she exclaims.

Many of Dr. Hornby’s colleagues at work participate in hobbies like skydiving or skiing down black-diamond slopes, but they balk when she tells them that she is going to places like Chiapas to perform free eye surgeries.

“They say, ‘I would never do that — there are rebels and gangs there! You could get shot!’” she laughs. “I always feel perfectly safe, though. The people are never anything but grateful that we’re there.”

The degree of gratitude that SEE Docs experience from their patients is one of the main reasons why Dr. Hornby continues to volunteer her time, money and energy so freely. On the latest trip to Tecate, one of the patients was a fisherman whose livelihood was threatened by his loss of sight.

Once the doctors removed the cataracts from his eyes, he was so elated that he returned with a load of salted fish for the doctors. Another powerful example took place on a previous expedition to Bolivia. There, Hornby and her fellow SEE Docs treated many poor indigenous people, including a young boy who hadn’t been able to see for two years. He could not read the instructional material in school, so he had to stay home. Once the doctors diagnosed him with cataracts, they were able to remove them quickly and safely. When his operation was finished and they removed his eyepatch, the boy was so excited at being able to see that he sprang to his feet and began to run around the room. His mother instantly burst into tears of joy and gratitude; now her son could go to school and play, like any other child.

Moments like these are what drive great doctors like Hornby, who is herself a mother of three, to spend their valuable time and money on volunteer expeditions with SEE.

“I know that, if one of my children went blind, I would pray for somebody to come offer help,” she reflects. “That’s why I keep volunteering with SEE: because you can be that person for somebody who really needs it.”

— Stephen Bunnell is a communications coordinator for SEE International.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >