The Alcon-ORBIS relationship began in 1979, three years before ORBIS's first sight-saving flight. Founded on the belief that a combination of training, equipment and technical assistance can make a crucial difference in the lives of people in developing countries.
In 2000, Alcon received ORBIS's first International Humanitarian Award at the annual
Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.
In 2004, Alcon became an ORBIS Global Sponsor, having significantly increased its annual support to underwrite the work of ORBIS's Faculty Relations and Program Support Unit, having created an employee biomedical volunteer program, and having increased its donations of equipment and supplies to partner hospitals.
A year later, in June 2005, Alcon awarded ORBIS a $1 million cash grant for its programs to prevent and cure blindness in the developing world. This grant, coupled with $1.5 million in gift-in-kind support over a two-year period, represented Alcon’s largest contribution to ORBIS.
In 2007, Alcon strengthened its commitment to ORBIS by renewing its Global Sponsor status for a further two-year period. This grant, exceeding $2.7 million, will provide cash and medical gifts-in-kind. This is Alcon’s largest single financial commitment to date. It also increases Alcon’s support to training initiatives in developing countries through a combination of
Hospital programs, hospital-based programs, fellowships and online Cyber-Sight® consultations.
In 2010, Alcon confirmed its commitment to ORBIS by renewing its global sponsorship. Alcon’s grant supports its training initiatives in developing countries through a combination of the Flying Eye Hospital and the India Childhood Blindness Initiative.
Over the years, Alcon has donated state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies for the Flying Eye Hospital and its partner hospitals around the world, making it possible for ORBIS volunteer ophthalmologists to teach advanced surgical techniques to doctors in the developing world. Additionally, the Alcon Volunteer Biomedical Corps, a dedicated group of Alcon biomedical technicians, participate in ORBIS training programs and share their skills with those in developing countries.