Fight for Eyesight


Sienna Kotsay

Sienna Kotsay ‘23, leader of Eye Fight for Sight..

On a fun afternoon in 2017, Sienna Kotsay ‘23, was struck by a tennis ball in her eye. She did not think much of it at the moment, due to the shock that filled her entire body. Almost immediately after, blood came rushing out of her eye. At that moment, she knew she had a serious issue, but had no clue about the magnitude of the injury she had sustained. She ruptured her optic nerve, leaving a scar that goes through the eye that ends a single millimeter away from her central vision. Due to amazing doctors at the University of California-Los Angeles, she had gotten a little bit of her vision back and was back to her favorite sport, Volleyball.

To say the least, Kotsay did not let this hold her back. She and her siblings started the organization “Eye Fight for Sight”.

Unfortunately, in Kotsay’s Junior year, she was at an ordinary volleyball practice, when a teammate on the opposing side of the scrimmage accidentally spiked a ball at her eye. This time, the injury was much worse. For the second time, she ruptured her optic nerve. This time it was a lot worse. After weeks went by, the constant headaches and dizziness never stopped. Sienna was forced with a very hard decision; She would never play volleyball again. Again, she did not let this hold her back, picking up the sport of rowing crew to stay athletic and staying very involved with her club and organization, Eye Fight for Sight.

This organization works to help all people with blindness. Eye Fight For Sight works with a retina specialist and professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics Dr. Khalid Tawansy to help patients every week who are unable to afford eye care. Sienna stated that “his kindness and determination to all no matter the time or price it takes allows him to give back the gift of sight even to the unimaginable.” Sienna was once told that she would never see again, but Dr. Khalid Tawansy gave her the faith, kindness, and care that helped her get to where she is now.

Sienna created this organization to create hope for the blind community. She has lived through a disaster and is doing fine now, and sometimes that’s all the other blind people need to hear. Kotsay is one of the few people who have experienced darkness —in one eye— so she truly knows what it feels like to experience this. With this, Sienna chose to shine a light on blindness and the world to provide assistance and care for those in need of eye care, with the addition of hope and kindness.

Q and A
Holden: You obviously suffered a very traumatic injury… How did you recover to where you’re at now?

Sienna: Throughout my injury, I attended doctors offices in LA at least 3 times a week after the first injury. Throughout all of my injuries, I have seen how many people are suffering from blindness and are in need of eye care which is what inspired me to create the club in charity.

Holden: Did you ever lose hope after your injury?

Sienna: Yes, for sure. I was terrified. It almost became obvious to me that there would be no hope for me to see out of that eye without some kind of miracle.

Holden: So Sienna, what exactly is your organization doing currently?

Sienna: We work with the blind community center of San Diego. I volunteer there and help blind people there. I work hand in hand with the director at the Blind Community Center to help their center. Right now we are hosting a shoe drive for them to make money for their program and make the centers better than they are now.