In celebration of our 6th National Sight Week, the ASCRS Foundation interviewed three of our champion volunteers about their commitment to give back within their local communities. Our second of the series spotlights Operation Sight volunteer Derek Horkey, MD at St. Paul Eye Clinic. Dr. Horkey reached out to Operation Sight after seeing several patients, who could not otherwise afford the cataract surgery they medically required. After Operation Sight screened the patients for eligibility, Dr. Horkey and the team at St. Paul Eye Clinic were able to provide cataract surgeries at their own facilities at no cost to the patient.
2021 was the year you jumped in to provide charitable cataract surgeries with us and change lives! Can you share more about the pressing need you witnessed for uninsured/underinsured patients in financial need and your dedication to make care accessible?
Dr. Horkey: I returned to Minnesota and began with St. Paul Eye Clinic in 2018. A lot has happened in that time, including a Global Pandemic that has affected our patients and our community that surrounds us in ways we cannot even imagine. Now that I have settled into this community, I enjoy being able to give back to those in need to help restore their vision. It is St. Paul Eye Clinic’s mission to give back to our community in any way we can, and this is just the small part that I can play.
We are so grateful for your volunteerism with St. Paul Eye Clinic! You are now part of an Operation Sight volunteer network of over 670 ASCRS members and established charitable organizations. What power does the ophthalmology community harness to change lives of Operation Sight patients, who could not otherwise afford or access care?
Dr. Horkey: Restoring vision through cataract surgery is one of the main reasons I became an ophthalmologist. To be able to utilize my skills to help my community and give back to those in need is the simplest gesture I can make to make a difference in my community. I am honored to be able to offer these services to patients, who may have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, a job loss, caring for an ill family member, or whatever the circumstances may be. The impact we can have as a network of surgeons is unfathomable, and I look forward to what we can do in the coming years by providing services to those in need.
For more information or to get involved in Operation Sight today, contact Jaya Minhas, Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.