Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital Lands in Silicon Valley

Using technology to create a community to fight blindness around the world

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 8, 2016 — Orbis, the international nonprofit that unites the world to fight blindness has brought its new Flying Eye Hospital to Silicon Valley. As the world’s only accredited ophthalmic training hospital aboard an MD-10 aircraft, this unique aircraft brings state of the art technology, training and teaching tools to local healthcare teams so that they can win the fight in their communities. The third-generation Flying Eye Hospital features 3D technology and live broadcast capabilities enabling Orbis, with their expert Volunteer Faculty, to train more doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals—ultimately treating more people and restoring their sight.

Google is hosting the Flying Eye Hospital at Moffett Federal Airfield, while Orbis is meeting with technology leaders in Silicon Valley before it heads out to Asia for its first medical programs in September.

“Our mission at Orbis is to bring the world together to fight blindness.  We believe that no one should go blind from conditions that are treatable or preventable,” explains Bob Ranck
, Orbis President
and CEO. “The Flying Eye Hospital is in equal parts teacher, envoy and advocate. Technology on the aircraft and in our virtual systems plays a vital role in fighting blindness. At Orbis, we’re developing innovative mechanisms to bridge the gaps between doctors around the world, providing a platform for mentorship, learning and skills transfer.”

“Google extends a warm welcome to the Flying Eye Hospital at Moffett Federal Airfield,” said John Igoe
, Google’sReal Estate & Workplace Services Director.. “Google and Orbis have a common vision when it comes to using technology to bridge gaps in access to life-affirming services for the world’s underserved communities. Hosting the Flying Eye Hospital in such a visible location will help build awareness for the important work Orbis does.”

More than six years in the making, the third-generation Flying Eye Hospital is the world’s only mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital, on board an MD-10 aircraft donated by FedEx in 2011.  The aircraft has been custom designed to provide expert, cutting edge medical training and technology for medical professionals in the developing world. It features 3D technology, and live broadcast capabilities drastically enhance the learning experience of participants. Local doctors sitting in the 46-seat classroom can observe live surgeries in 3D that are being performed and filmed in the Operating Room. This gives the participants the unique opportunity to view the procedures with depth perception (a crucial part of any microscopic surgical technique) with the same clarity and optics as the surgeon’s microscope. This real world application of 3D technology marks a huge advancement in continued medical education.

“The Flying Eye Hospital, as well as the technology it contains, is a powerful tool that enables us to bring the world together to fight blindness,” explains Dr. Daniel Neely
, Orbis volunteer pediatric ophthalmic surgeon and Medical Advisor. “The new technologies such as the 3D broadcast capabilities of the surgical microscope allow us as teachers to share, train and interact with more of our colleagues in the developing world, giving a deeper and richer learning environment to transfer the skills to their practice. Most exciting, we are able to continue the mentorship relationships long after the plane has moved on via Cybersight—our telemedicine portal.”

More than 285 million people are visually impaired, and 4 out of 5 suffer from preventable conditions. Ninety percent of these people live in developing countries where they cannot access sight-saving treatments that many take for granted in the United States. For more than 30 years, Orbis has helped countries build the skills and resources they need to prioritize and deliver quality eye care to their local communities. Their team of over 400 expert medical volunteers, from 30 countries, accomplishes this by training local medical teams both in their hospitals and on the Flying Eye Hospital, emphasizing quality and safety standards for patient care.

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.

Prior to its visit to Moffett Field, the Flying Eye Hospital has been on a highly successful six-city North American tour beginning in Los Angeles and including New York, Washington, D.C, Memphis, Fort Worth and Sacramento. Orbis thanked its supporters and offered the public the opportunity to experience the unique plane so that they, too, can join the fight against blindness.

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.

About Orbis

Orbis is a leading global non-governmental organization that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of blindness for over 30 years. Orbis transforms lives by delivering the skills, resources and knowledge needed to deliver accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas. Orbis operates the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft. To learn more about Orbis and to get involved, please visit Orbis.org/launch and follow the organization’s work on Twitter, Facebookand Instagram.