International Women's Day: Dr. Andrea Molinari M.D. a Pioneer in Eye Care

To mark International Women’s Day we’re celebrating some of the incredible women in the Orbis family whose expertise and dedication is helping the next generation of women & girls reach their potential. This is Dr. Andrea Molinari, one of the leading figures in Latin American eye care.

Dr. Molinari is no stranger to eye care, beginning her practice in 1987. She is now Director of Fellowship in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus at the Fundacion Metrofraternidad, and an Associate Professor at Univ. Central del Ecuador and Univ. Pontificia del Ecuador.

Since meeting Dr. Gene Helveston, the creator of Cybersight, in the early 2000s, Dr. Molinari has participated in numerous Flying Eye Hospital, local hospital and Cybersight programs.

Dr. Molinari began her globetrotting medical career with a residency in Argentina that was completed in Hamburg, Germany. When she returned to Argentina, Dr. Molinari and her husband, also an ophthalmologist, decided to move to Ecuador, seeking adventure and experience.

"When I came here, Ecuador was a much more undeveloped country compared to Argentina at that time so the ophthalmologist here were all general ophthalmologists; there were no subspecialties. My husband, he was also an ophthalmologist. He went to Argentina to do his residency program and then we decided to come to Ecuador since it was more adventurous; there were not many ophthalmologists here and we thought that we had a better perspective in Ecuador than Argentina."

Gallery: Dr. Molinari during various Orbis programs

As one of the few ophthalmologists with strabismus and pediatric expertise in rural Ecuador, Dr. Molinari was able to quickly gain experience treating local patients. When cases were difficult, Dr. Molinari would write letters to colleagues to gain insight.

"In 1987 there were no computers. Computers had just started and there was no chance to write emails so I wrote letters to my former mentor in Argentina when I had a case I wanted to discuss with somebody I will discuss it with them."

This medical correspondence would be just the start of Dr. Molinari's collaborative career.

Telemedicine Trendsetter

In the 90s and 2000s, computers, email, and the internet offered new means of fast communication. Seeing the opportunities possible with the internet, Dr. Eugene Helveston began working on a telemedicine platform, Cybersight. He invited Dr. Molinari to the platform, and she became one of its earliest users. On Cybersight, Dr. Molinari could get rapid responses on cases from doctors around the world.

In an effort to promote Cybersight, Dr. Molinari and Dr. Helveston organized a meeting called "The Galapagos Strabismoligical Adventure". They rented a cruise ship in the Galapagos, inviting doctors from around the Americas to learn about the capabilities of Cybersight and online medicine. This meeting encouraged the doctors, including Dr. Molinari, to become Cybersight mentors. In this role, they would help other doctors from around the world with cases, just as Dr. Helveston had done for Dr. Molinari.

But Dr. Molinari did more than just respond to medical questions. She helped author Cybersight lectures and lessons, many of which are still being used on our website today!

Student to Teacher

In her decades long career with Orbis, Dr. Molinari has traveled to Cuba, Syria, Costa Rica, India, and Peru! On one Hospital Based Training program in India at Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital, Dr. Molinari became acquainted with then student Dr. Suma Ganesh.

Dr. Molinari took on the role of Dr. Ganesh's mentor, just as Dr. Helveston had done in the past. The two doctors became fast friends, and still talk to this day!

"The relationship you build with your students is a special one. As I said the relationship with Dr. Suma is now a friendship and not just a student teacher relationship. We went to the Taj Mahal together when I visited India."

This year, Dr. Molinari and Dr. Ganesh have held two Cybersight lectures, and we hope to see them collaborate again in the future.

Read more about Dr. Molinari and Dr. Ganesh below.

Dr. Molinari is a hero to Orbis and her local community. Through decades of passionate mentorship she has helped train generations of ophthalmologists to come! Thank you Dr. Molinari for all of your hard work!

Fundacion Metrofraternidad, Hospital Metropolitano

Universidad Central del Ecuador

Universidad Pontificia del Ecuador


Help doctors like Andrea Molinari spread knowledge and resources through Cybersight!

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