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NEWS | Feb. 7, 2023

59th MDW Top Eye: Airman 1st Class Samantha Sim

By Senior Airman Melody Bordeaux 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Samantha Sim, 59th Surgical Operations Squadron ophthalmic technician, was nominated to be the first Top Eye of October 2022 at the Ophthalmology clinic in Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 4, 2022.

The Ophthalmology clinic started having Airman's Time on the first Friday of every month where they recognize one outstanding individual nominated as the Top Eye.

"I believe in her 200 percent,” said Master Sgt. Kim Piad, 59th Surgical Operations Squadron ophthalmology flight chief. “Just yesterday the operating room needed help and the first thing that came to mind is, ‘where’s Sim at?'”

Sim has been with the 59th Medical Wing for almost a year, during which she has already accomplished her upgrade training in six months and has been trained in five sub-specialties.

“She has taken a lot of initiative volunteering off-base with a glasses drive that supported 60 national charities,” Piad said. “She filled an E-5 role for a couple of months, she’s an airman 1st class already pursuing her master’s degree and she was hand-selected and coined for an immersion brief for the wing commander and command chief.”

Sim believes in being flexible and willing to help without hesitation. She explains how her clinic makes an impact in everyday lives and on duty.

“We see active duty, families and retirees, so it depends on the aspect you're looking at,” Sim said. “From an active duty standpoint, we handle a lot of refractive surgery, especially in our cornea clinic. This plays into the Air Force’s mission to get people worldwide qualified or, if they're looking to become flyers, getting their vision corrected.”

When you deploy, if you have glasses, you must bring them and are not allowed to wear contact lenses. However, getting refractive surgery gives you the opportunity to deploy without glasses.

“There’s a lot of things that can happen when you’re deployed,” Sim said. “Your glasses could fall off, break or get scratched and suddenly you’re not able to see what you’re doing. So, while you can still be qualified to deploy with glasses, it really is a big readiness factor for us that, if someone is qualified for refractive surgery, they have the procedure and can be worldwide qualified.”

Sim said she also finds seeing patients after surgery truly rewarding and takes pride in giving patients a better quality of life.

“I absolutely love seeing patients after surgery," Sim said. “I had a patient once who had surgery the day prior and she came in saying, ‘It sort of feels like if you had a really old TV and then you get a brand new one with all these amazing upgrades. All of a sudden, you’re seeing things in high definition and the colors are bright, things are really sharp. That’s what it feels like and I don’t remember the last time I could see this way.’ We get things like that a lot, ‘I haven’t been able to see my husband or my wife and now I can.'”

Piad described her as a natural leader that excels in taking initiative whether it be taking care of patients, her career or her community.

“We have an Airman here who is really high speed,” Piad said.