keep smiling (and flying)...

Orbis - Flying Eye Hospital

Orbis International is a non profit humanitarian organisation that has a

devotion to the prevention of blindness in developing countries.

In 1982 there was an unique and lasting alliance began between the fields of medicine and aviation.
Currently a specially designed and converted DC-10 aircraft became the world's only Ophthalmic training facility. Being mobile has meant that the medical and training services come to the community.

Since the first flight in 1982, The Flying Eye Hospital has trained 325,000 medical professionals, provided 23.3 million medical and optical treatments to adults and children as well as 925,000 eye surgeries and lasers performed.

In 2012, they completed 4.53 million medical and optical treatments, 55,500 eye surgeries and lasers performed and 20,500 medical professionals were trained.
The plane is divided in different sections. From the nose to tail... flight deck, classroom, audiovisual room, laser treatment room, operating room, sterilisation room, recovery room and communications centre.

The 48 seat classroom at the front of the plane and is a place for local eye health care professionals to gather for lectures, discussions and to view live broadcasts of surgical procedures performed on the aircraft operating room. They can also remotely view these surgeries at additional outside classrooms or local hospital.

The DC-10 is going to be replaced with a MD-10. The new aircraft is coming with improved design, increased performance, reduced operating costs and increased audio visual capability.
The new design will be made up of 9 customised modules similar to commercial cargo containers and the modular design will enable the hospital to be removed from the aircraft for easier maintenance. This aircraft will require less time consuming fuel stops. Also there is upgraded avionics means that only 2 pilots are now needed and being a new aircraft there will be reduced maintenance costs as it will not require the same level of spare parts. The aircraft is being fitted with cutting edge broadcasting and online technology, so eye care professionals can access training anywhere in the world.

The Flying Eye Hospital works in the following countries/regions: Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Latin American and the Caribbean, South Africa, Vietnam and Zambia. Prior to the Flying Eye to preselect patients.

Priority is given to children, bilaterally blind individuals who can't afford to have surgery.

Some of the conditions they treat: cataract, childhood blindness, corneal blindness, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinoblastoma, retinopathy of prematurity, strabismus and trachoma. Also, oculopastic surgery is performed and they train local doctors in this surgery. This type of surgery is to help preserve sight and enhance the patients appearance.

The Flying Eye Hospital runs on volunteers. The pilots are current and retired  from Fed Ex and United Airlines, there

is also the flight mechanics and aircraft maintenance technicians. Medical volunteers include: ophthalmology specialists,

  ophthalmology nurses, biomedical engineers, anesthesiology, healthcare technology, optometrists, orthoptists, ophthalmic

photographers and other related eye care fields.

Orbis International has offices in Capetown, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Macau, New York, Shanghai, Taipei and Toronto.