Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Roberto Pineda

Dr. Roberto Pineda, is assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and a long-time Volunteer Faculty member specializing in cornea and cataracts.

Since 1998 Dr. Pineda has shared the latest surgical techniques with ophthalmologists all over the world on 15 of our sight-saving projects, and is a huge advocate for expanding affordable and quality eye care internationally.

An Orbis EyeReport video from 2011 follows Dr. Roberto Pineda on a project in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia

Skills & Expertise

Dr. Pineda is a distinguished ophthalmologist with subspecialty training in corneal disorders, external disease, refractive surgery and ocular trauma. His specialty areas also include laser vision correction, corneal surgery and cataract surgery.

He gained his MD from the University of Minnesota, completed his residency and Fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston.

He is the Director of the International Council of Ophthalmology fellowship at Mass. Eye and Ear; the advisor for the Harvard College Chapter of Unite for Sight; and a Board Member of Visionaries International, a nonprofit that trains corneal surgeons in developing countries.

In 2014, Dr. Pineda was named Associate Director of the office of Global Surgery and Health at Mass. Eye and Ear. Dr. Pineda is working to introduce the artificial cornea, known as the Boston keratoprosthesis, in Ethiopia and Sudan, and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards.

Teacher and Trainer

During his 15th Flying Eye Hospital program in Accra, Ghana, in 2019, we caught up with Dr. Pineda to find out more about his experience training local doctors, its challenges as well as the benefits of medical education provided by Orbis.

“The mission this week for me was cataract surgery, phacoemulsification specifically. We’re going to be working with two trainees here and I'm very excited to be here. I think one of the challenges we have when we're teaching surgery is to talk about complications. And I think one of the best things we can do for our audience is to share our own complications and talk about how we've managed them, what the thought process is, and to get them to be in line with how we managed these problems. So that when they run into similar problems, they can already have kind of an outline of how they think about these difficulties.


Dr. Roberto Pineda training local eye doctors in the latest surgical techniques

Dr. Pineda sharing his skills

His honest and refreshing approach always goes down well with local doctors, so much so that he some have even come to visit him at his practice in Boston.

I myself have had trainees I've worked with in other countries through Orbis spend time with me in Boston, and have gone back to build their own practices in a very progressive way. And they're now the ones doing the teaching. And that's what it's all about, it's really building on these foundations, and bringing the message home that eye care is important everywhere. And we all need to be part of that.

Dr. Roberto Pineda

Assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Harvard Medical School in Boston and Orbis Volunteer Faculty

An elderly patient treated for cataracts on our Flying Eye Hospital project in Accra, Ghana, November 2019

A patient from our 2019 Ghana program

And finally, we asked him Dr. Pineda supporting Orbis’s goal of fighting blindness in developing countries.

“Most of us consider vision our most important sense. We obviously need all our senses, but vision has always been what people refer to as the windows to our soul. And most cultures highly value their vision. Orbis's mission to eliminate preventable global blindness is a necessary mission, a necessary vision. And, I think that we all can participate in this program and process to help everyone in the world make the most of what they have with their vision."

Dr. Pineda, a huge thank you for giving up your free time to share your world-leading skills and and expertise over three decades to enhance the quality of eye care globally. We're incredibly fortunate to have you as part of our Orbis family. You are a credit to the eye health community.

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