International Women's Day: Meet Dr. Lady Celis Suarez

This Women's History Month, Orbis is highlighting how the lack of women eye health providers remains a major barrier to access for women and girls around the world.

Women and girls are often more comfortable receiving treatment from another female care provider, which is why Orbis is dedicated to increasing the number of women in ophthalmology.

Globally, women represent only 25-30% of ophthalmologists and 25-45% of professionals-in-training. And in a recent survey of Cybersight users, 30% of women respondents said that they experience challenges that men do not in accessing eye healthcare training.

We’re working to change this by helping women eye health professionals access best-in-class training and strengthen their role in delivering eye care. One of them is the amazing Dr. Lady Celis Suarez, who received hands-on training during a recent training project in Lima, Peru.

Dr. Lady Celis Suarez is an ophthalmologist at our partner hospital National Institute of Ophthalmology (INO) in Peru.

Held at Orbis partner hospital National Institute of Ophthalmology (INO), the training focused on advanced techniques to treat strabismus, a disease that causes the eyes to look in different directions. Dr. Andrea Molinari, a longtime Orbis Volunteer Faculty, spearheaded the training, sharing her decades of experience in pediatric eye care with the next generation of female ophthalmologists.

Since finishing her residency eight years ago, Dr. Lady has been working at INO in emergency services. Always eager to help her patients, she was encouraged to further specialize. It took only one surgery with Dr. Molinari to know she’d made the right choice. “After having spent the week with her, I am convinced of what I chose and want to continue in the world of strabismus,” she says. “This experience solidified that.”

Dr. Lady describes how Dr. Molinari’s hands-on teaching approach and can-do attitude gave her extra confidence. “This was my first solo strabismus surgery, so Dr. Molinari guided me by hand and taught me to perform it. She knew I was just starting and encouraged me to continue because sometimes one can feel insecure or that they are not capable. But she encouraged me to go forward through the procedure, and well, I finished the surgery!”

With her training underway, Dr. Molinari told Dr. Lady she was ready for more cases. “There was a moment when everyone in the operating room applauded because I finished the surgery, and it was successful!”

Peru has a severe lack of trained ophthalmic surgeons, especially women. With her Orbis training, Dr. Lady can ease the burden on the few teachers available. “Practically speaking, this hospital-based training gives us knowledge that will benefit us, and through Cybersight it will continue.”

Dr. Lady Celis Suarez is performing eye surgery.

Dr. Lady now performs surgery more confidently.

Cybersight, our award-winning e-learning platform, will allow Dr. Lady to continue the training at her own pace. The tool is a huge plus for women eye health professionals everywhere as it helps them overcome barriers by providing affordable, convenient ways to advance their career while continuing to fulfil their multiple roles, which often include caregiving responsibilities.

We are so proud of Dr. Lady for her unwavering drive to save sight. She understands how important healthy vision is for young boys and girls to not only see but also thrive and is dedicated to helping.

As for her favorite part of the training, Dr. Lady says, “It was the moment Dr. Molinari finished the surgery I was doing and said, Lady, you are ready, you can continue...I am eternally grateful to her, for everything she has shown and given to me. And really, it’s not just as a doctor, but as a friend. I do not have enough words for what she’s doing for me and my colleagues.”

We’d like to wish both Dr. Domenica and Dr. Molinari a happy International Women’s Day and thank them for all their hard work and dedication in helping the people of Peru see a brighter future.

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