Next stop Vietnam: The Flying Eye Hospital is almost ready for takeoff

Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital returns to the skies next month, headed to Can Tho, Vietnam for our first in-person, patient-focused trip of 2023 … and our first such trip since the pandemic began.

With the relaunch of this project, all of Orbis’s training tools will be fully back in action – making us stronger than ever before – as we continue our mission to train eye care teams across the globe and deliver sight-saving care to children and adults.

Orbis has traveled around the world with the Flying Eye Hospital – our state-of-the art medical teaching facility and mobile operating room on board an MD-10 aircraft – and since 1996, we’ve traveled to Vietnam nearly a dozen times.

With each Flying Eye Hospital project in the country, Orbis is improving the quality of eye care throughout Vietnam by training eye teams, building and strengthening their skills so they can save sight long after the plane has departed.

As Orbis returns to Can Tho in May, this will be our first patient-focused, in-person training project since the pandemic began and an opportunity to get back on the ground to help communities struggling with preventable vision loss.

With our upcoming project, eye care professionals from across Vietnam will train alongside Orbis’s expert Volunteer Faculty, comprised of ophthalmologists, anesthesiologists, biomedical engineers, and nurses.

Throughout the three-week project, local teams will train through a "blended learning" approach. During the first week, eye care professionals will learn through simulation training on board the Flying Eye Hospital and at partner hospitals, allowing them to build their skills and confidence before performing live surgeries on patients. They will also attend essential workshops in pediatric evaluation and diagnosis.

During the next two weeks of the project, eye teams will receive hands-on training in patient-focused surgery. Delivered with Orbis’s local partners, Can Tho Maxillo Dental and Eye Hospital and Can Tho Children Hospital, local teams will hone their skills to treat eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, strabismus and more.

In-person training on board the Flying Eye Hospital is also integrated with virtual education through Cybersight – Orbis’s award-winning telehealth and e-learning platform – to further enhance skill development. Eye care teams begin their education before the aircraft arrives with tailored courses designed to match the training topics delivered on board the plane and they continue to learn and consult with their mentors and peers after it leaves.

Thanks to Orbis’s ongoing efforts in Vietnam – and the generous support of donors and friends like you – rates of blindness are decreasing in the country. But millions of children and adults still struggle to get the care they need.

The latest data shows that there are around 23,000 children who are blind and around three million more who are visually impaired in Vietnam. Almost half a million adults in the country are blind, while an additional two million have other visual impairments. Yet, 90% of these cases can be prevented or treated.

Through the Flying Eye Hospital project, eye care professionals will gain the skills they need to fight avoidable blindness and vision loss and provide comprehensive eye care to their local communities. And through their experiences on the Flying Eye Hospital, they will be able to help hundreds, even thousands, of patients after the project is completed.

Thanks to caring people like you, Orbis can train eye care teams in Vietnam and deliver quality eye care to children and adults in need.

Please make a special gift today and support the Flying Eye Hospital for our next sight-saving mission to Vietnam!


Your gift will support the Flying Eye Hospital and deliver sight-saving care around the world!

Additional Thank Yous

We are grateful to FedEx for not only sponsoring this program in Vietnam but also standing side by side with us for more than 30 years in the fight against avoidable vision loss.

Orbis is also grateful for our partnership with Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) and Can Tho International Airport for their support. ACV has generously provided a secure location for the Flying Eye Hospital for the duration of the three-week project, a critical component to safely treat patients and train eye care teams.

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