The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, an international nonprofit organisation, takes a unique approach to delivering high-quality eye surgery to people around the world. The hospital, which is currently located in Silicon Valley, is on a converted airplane in which the back has been transformed into a fully functioning, state-of-the-art hospital.
The plane has sanitizing and sterilization centers along with a brand new operating room. The hospital travels to countries around the world that do not have such facilities available. In many of these nations, people suffer from eye conditions leading to blindness that is avoidable with surgery, including cataracts. According to Orbis Global Medical Director Jonathan Lord, 280 million people in the world suffer from low vision or blindness, and 80 percent of them have blindness that is treatable.
In addition to the hospital's mission to bring eye surgery and treatment to people in developing nations around the world, it is also the only teaching hospital contained within an aircraft. In the front area of the airplane, there is a fully operational classroom so that doctor in third-world countries can learn how to perform surgeries. The classroom contains a simulator with which doctors can practice operations. There are cataract experts on staff to help with teaching the doctors, and the plane is also equipped with 3D glasses that the doctors can use to watch surgeries being performed.
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is funded entirely by donations. It uses the donations it receives to pay for its flights and all of the equipment it carries. Other uses for the donations include aircraft maintenance and fuels as well as to pay for the teddy bears that are included in the hospital's recovery room.
The hospital will remain at Moffett Field looking for funding and donations before it makes its next flight to Asia in September 2016, when it will fly again on its mission of treating preventable blindness and teaching eye doctors from around the world. Chief Ophthalmologist Antonio Jaramillo says that every flight is a new adventure since it is impossible to anticipate what the staff will find awaiting them in each new destination.
According to a recent press release - In the past five years alone, from 2011-2015, Orbis’s work has facilitated 10,000 trainings of doctors, 104,000 trainings of nurses, biomedical engineers and other health care workers, and 11.6 million screenings and eye exams either on the Flying Eye Hospital or at Orbis in-country partner hospitals.
For more information on Orbis and the Flying Eye Hospital, visit www.orbis.org or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FlyingEyeHospital.