Hospital is the result of a unique and lasting alliance forged between the medical and aviation industries. Our specially designed and converted DC-10 aircraft—the world’s only airborne ophthalmic training facility—makes it possible for ORBIS to bring ophthalmic training to communities throughout the world. On board and in local hospitals, the ORBIS team and Volunteer Faculty provide hands-on training to local eye care professionals and convey the latest medical knowledge to treat patients and restore sight.
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In the 48-seat classroom at the front of the plane, local eye healthcare professionals gather for lectures, discussions and live broadcasts of surgical procedures being performed in the Flying Eye Hospital operating room. If needed, surgeries can also be broadcast to an additional classroom outside the aircraft, for instance, at a nearby hospital. Large numbers of trainees observe the surgeries and ask questions of the operating surgeons via a two-way audio-visual system.
Prior to the start of a Flying Eye Hospital visit, ORBIS works with local partner hospitals to pre-select patients whose conditions are relevant to that program’s focus. Selected patients are then screened by ORBIS Volunteer Faculty members at the program site. Priority is given to children, individuals who are bilaterally blind, cannot afford to have the surgery otherwise, and represent good teaching cases. Local eye healthcare professionals maintain oversight of patients before, during and after surgery.
To see the Flying Eye Hospital in action, please watch our video or view our audio slideshow.
Videos and follow-up are part of training
Upon the Flying Eye Hospital’s departure, videos of the surgical demonstrations are left with local institutions to be used in further training. As part of ORBIS’s commitment to ongoing quality care, an ORBIS ophthalmologist returns to the host country within two months of each program to examine patients and review cases with the local doctors.
Where is the Flying Eye Hospital now?
Click here to find out where the Flying Eye Hospital is today and where it will be over the course of the year.
You can help
Since its first program in 1982, the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital has traveled to 77 countries and as a result of our continued focus on efficient training, thousands are now able to see. By training local doctors and eye care workers, who in turn teach their colleagues, ORBIS — an international nonprofit humanitarian organization — is strengthening the capabilities of local health care communities in blindness prevention and treatment.
Please help ORBIS continue its sight-saving journey by conducting a fundraising activity or donating online. Please give generously so that others may see.