In March, Orbis Ireland welcomed the Flying Eye Hospital, the world’s only airborne ophthalmic training facility, to Dublin for the first time in ten years.

A specially designed and converted MD-10 aircraft, the Flying Eye Hospital combines the latest in avionics, hospital engineering, technology and clinical expertise, making it possible to bring ophthalmic training to communities in developing countries.

It features a modular design, 3D technology and live broadcast capabilities to train more doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals - ultimately treating more people and restoring their sight. The plane was available for tours from Thursday 2 March to Sunday 5 March during which time nearly 600 people got on board. 

Over the past 10 years, the people of Ireland have invested €4.33 million in providing eye care services across the southern regions of Ethiopia, an area that has a population of 2.2 million people. By 2019, Orbis Ireland’s aim is to conduct 17,000 eye surgeries, provide over 4,000 training sessions for eye care teams and health workers and prescribe over 6,000 pairs of glasses.

Over the past ten years, Orbis Ireland’s mission has been to eliminate a painful blinding eye disease – trachoma - from the poorest regions of southern Ethiopia. Together, the unwavering commitment and partnership from the Irish people, has allowed us to accomplish so much to provide basic eye care for those most in need. Bringing the plane to Ireland was just one small way we can thank our supporters for their dedication.

Maurice Cox

Chairman, Orbis Ireland

The Flying Eye Hospital tours at Dublin Airport were proudly supported by FedEx Express, Dublin Airport, Cityjet, Swissport and the Irish Aviation Authority.