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Subspecialties Health Economics and Policy, Cataract

A Just Cause

As the granddaughter of Ignacio Barraquer Barraquer (founder of the Barraquer Clinic) and daughter of Joaquin Barraquer Moner, were you expected to become an ophthalmologist?

It was expected of my brother [Rafael Barraquer], but not me. There weren’t many women in medicine when I started, but seeing how passionate my father and grandfather were about their work made me want to be an ophthalmologist too. I decided then that ophthalmology was going to become my life.

What is the best part of being an ophthalmologist?

Being able to give someone back their sight, because very often that means giving them back their life, too. When we travel on our missions, many of the people in need of cataract surgery are of working age. Last year in Mozambique, I operated on a man who was once a professional driver. He hadn’t driven in two years because he couldn’t see. By returning sight to people like him, you give them the ability to work and feed their families again. You give them dignity.

Tell us more about the Elena Barraquer Fundación.

It’s a charity I started almost two years ago that offers eye care to communities without access to it. Ophthalmologists are coming from all over the world to work with us, which is what I always wanted. I certainly wouldn’t want the foundation to die with me, or suffer if I was not able to travel as often as I do right now. I want enthusiastic young doctors to join the foundation and continue my work, when I’m no longer able to do it. 

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About the Author

Phoebe Harkin

Associate Editor of The Ophthalmologist

I’ve always loved telling stories. So much so, I decided to make a job of it. I finished a Masters in Magazine Journalism and spent three years working as a creative copywriter before itchy feet sent me (back)packing. It took seven months and 13 countries, but I’m now happily settled on The Ophthalmologist, where I’m busy getting stuck into all things eyeballs.

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