According to the World Health Organization:
- 39 million people are blind
- 1.4 million children under the age of 15 are blind
- 80 percent of blindness is treatable and/or preventable
- About 90 percent of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries
ORBIS International was established to combat these disturbing statistics. In 1982, its unique aircraft, the Flying Eye Hospital, took to the skies. For the first time ever, a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art teaching hospital had been installed inside an airplane. It was now possible to bring sight-saving skills to developing countries around the world.
Since that first flight in 1982, ORBIS has:
- Carried out more than 1,000 training programs in 88 countries, many of which were an integral part of over 155 long-term capacity building projects
- Trained more than 290,000 ophthalmologists, nurses, biomedical engineers and other health care workers
- Directly treated more than 15 million people for blindness-related diseases and conditions. Millions more have received the gift of sight as a result of the new skills that ORBIS volunteers have shared.
- Established a long-term presence in five priority countries: Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam
- Developed an active pool of over 500 leading doctors, nurses and other eye care specialists from around the world who volunteer to teach during one- to two-week sight-saving programs.
- Created a cutting edge telemedicine project, Cyber-Sight, which has delivered online consultations and training in over 7,400 patient cases with over 33,000 exchanges between tele-mentors and those doctors submitting cases for review.
The majority of ORBIS projects concentrate on avoidable blindness among children. ORBIS devotes much of its efforts to the treatment and prevention of the following diseases and conditions:
ORBIS has offices in the United States, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Macau, South Africa, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Vietnam. Please direct media inquiries regarding the Flying Eye Hospital to Jennifer Berman, Associate Director, Communications at 1.646.674.5532, or contact the media relations officer in the country you are reporting on.