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CONTACT: Marjorie Wass/Juliana Minsky (805) 687-3322/(805) 252-3124, [email protected]

SEE International Trains Surgeons in Sight-Restoring Technique

Fifth annual training in Santa Barbara provides skills needed to treat cataracts, the major cause of blindness worldwide, in humanitarian medical settings

Santa Barbara, CA, August 31, 2011— Cataract, a clouding of the lens of the eye which obstructs the passage of light, is by far the major cause of blindness worldwide (47.8%) and affects millions of people. This Saturday, September 3rd, 19 surgeons – representing four countries, nine U.S. States, and from as far away as Australia – will attend Surgical Eye Expedition (SEE) International’s intensive instructional course and lab to learn Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) in Santa Barbara. MSICS is considered to be an optimal method to treat the acute cataract cases in the humanitarian medical expedition setting, in developing countries that cannot support the use, transportation and maintenance of sophisticated, expensive equipment.

Since being founded in Santa Barbara in 1974, humanitarian medical nonprofit Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International has completed more than 400,000 sight-restoring surgeries worldwide, with a record 15,463 surgeries performed in 2010.

“It is wonderful to see these board certified eye surgeons taking the time to improve their skills, learning a procedure that can be used in areas where access to modern surgical technology is not available,” said John Crowder, MD, SEE International’s Medical Director and founding board member. “As a result, they will be able to restore sight to some of the poorest and remote areas of the world. I am impressed with their dedication. I am thankful to our faculty, Dr. Janak Shah and Dr. Jeff Rutgard, who collectively complete more than a thousand sight restoring surgeries every year for those most in need .”

SEE International affiliate surgeons typically restore sight to between 50 and 200 people during each five-day clinic expedition.


WHO: 19 eye surgeons training for SEE International humanitarian medical expeditions; Santa Barbara experts Steven Couvillion M.D. and John Crowder, M.D.; Guest expert training faculty Janak Shah, MBBS, DO (Mumbai, India) and Jeffrey Rutgard, M.D. (San Diego); SEE International staff.

WHAT: SEE International training in cataract surgery for humanitarian medical conditions.

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011; 7:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY 1:00-2:00 PM during wet-lab session; or by special arrangement

WHERE: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Loma Pelona Center, Room 1108

MEDIA CONTACT: Marjorie Wass/Juliana Minsky (805) 687-3322 /Sat. (805) 689-6618

Since 2006, SEE International has been offering its affiliates an opportunity to improve their skills in the manual methods of cataract removal by organizing the Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) training course and wet lab through its headquarters in Santa Barbara, California. Taught by experienced faculty, the course is specifically designed for the practicing ophthalmologists who plan on using the technique on one of our expeditions. The training course also provides participants with Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and SEE International.

Faculty for the 2011 MSICS training course include SEE International affiliate experts:

John Crowder. M.D. (Santa Barbara), Faculty Director and SEE International Medical Director and Board Member; Janak Shah, MBBS, DO (Mumbai, India); Jeffrey Rutgard, M.D. (San Diego); Guest Speaker Steven Couvillon, M.D. (Santa Barbara); and Elizabeth Link, RN (Santa Barbara).

A Medical Education Grant from Allergan is supporting the training course in part, and the San Diego Eye Bank is sponsoring the course by provision of human eyes for participant training.

About SEE International

Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization that provides medical, surgical, and educational services by volunteer ophthalmic surgeons with the primary objective of restoring sight to disadvantaged blind individuals worldwide.

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