Eye hospital tail.

Orbis at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

A new exhibit opened October 14, 2022, focusing the world's attention on the importance of eye care.

The Flying Eye Hospital: Medicine meets aviation

We are pleased to announce the inclusion of artifacts from the second-generation Flying Eye Hospital DC-10 aircraft in a new permanent exhibition which opened October 14, 2022, at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. An example of humanitarian flight that combines innovations in medicine and aviation, we are featured in the new "Thomas W. Haas We All Fly" exhibition, which celebrates the breadth and depth of general aviation and its deep impact on society.

Simulator from the second-generation DC-10 aircraft.

Derek Hodkey

President & CEO of Orbis International

From the ear­li­est days of Orbis, we knew that bring­ing train­ing from the world’s best eye care pro­fes­sion­als direct­ly to the eye care teams who need it most would change the way the world sees. It’s what led to the launch of our Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal exact­ly 40 years ago – mak­ing it an espe­cial­ly fit­ting time to look back on all the progress we’ve made. We are grate­ful to the Nation­al Air and Space Muse­um for shin­ing this impor­tant spot­light on our work.”

The exhibit features a simulator from the Flying Eye Hospital – the world's only fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board a plane – now currently in its third generation on an MD-10 aircraft. The simulator was used to train eye care professionals on cataract surgery, the leading cause of blindness in the world. We have adopted simulation training, much in the same way that pilots learn to fly planes through simulation, to allow eye care teams to build their skills and confidence safely before progressing to real-life surgeries.

Dorothy Cochrane

National Air and Space Museum curator

The Orbis Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal is a won­der­ful exam­ple of the use of gen­er­al avi­a­tion for human­i­tar­i­an pur­pos­es, some­thing we want­ed to high­light in the Thomas W Haas We All Fly” gallery. This is tru­ly a unique way of reach­ing peo­ple in need.”

We also joined the GE Aviation Lecture Series in a live conversation titled "The Flying Eye Hospital: Medicine Meets Aviation."

During the conversation, our Vice President of Clinical Services and Technologies, Dr. Hunter Cherwek, and Director of Aircraft Operations and Maintenance, Bruce Johnson, gave an insider's view into what it is like to work on one of the world's most unique aircrafts and what is ahead for our fight against avoidable blindness. The conversation will be moderated by Dorothy Cochrane, Curator of the Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian Institution. Watch below!

40 Years of Innovation

Through innovations like our Flying Eye Hospital, dedicated country programs, and Cybersight, our telemedicine and e-learning platform, we have been able to ensure a brighter tomorrow for millions and change lives in places where quality eye care is still difficult to access.

We believe that the best way to fight avoidable blindness and vision impairment is to share knowledge, skills, and support with eye care teams so they can help patients in their communities. Now we have more ways than ever to achieve this. A huge thank you to all our supporters, partners, and volunteers who have enabled us to fight avoidable blindness with the same innovative spirit we began our work with 40 years ago.

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