The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital is literally a hospital with wings that brings together dedicated eye care professionals and aviators to give the gift of sight to developing countries around the world. Onboard the refurbished DC-10 jet aircraft, local doctors, nurses and technicians work alongside ORBIS’s international medical team to exchange knowledge and improve skills.
The mobile teaching hospital is a unique tool in the fight against preventable blindness in developing countries.
In the 48-seat classroom at the front of the plane, doctors gather for lectures, discussions and live broadcasts of surgical procedures being performed nearby 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, local doctors pre-select patients whose eye conditions are relevant to that programme’s specialties. Selected patients are then screened by ORBIS volunteer faculty members at the programme site. Priority is given to children, individuals who are bilaterally blind, cannot afford to have the surgery otherwise, and represent good teaching cases. Local doctors maintain oversight of patients before, during and after surgery.
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