Flying Eye Hospital Project off to a flying start  

Our Flying Eye Hospital project in Vietnam is in full swing. After landing at Can Tho International Airport for our 12th Flying Eye Hospital project in Vietnam, and receiving a wonderful welcome, the plane was quickly transformed into hospital mode.

For our first in-person, patient-focused project since 2020, we’re bringing together 52 local eye care professionals including ophthalmologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and biomedical engineers to share skills with our team of expert Volunteer Faculty on board our aircraft and in partner hospitals – Can Tho Maxillo Dental and Eye Hospital and Can Tho Children Hospital.

Generously sponsored by Orbis long-standing partner FedEx, training takes a ‘blended learning’ approach with customized virtual courses hosted on our e-learning platform, Cybersight, complimenting the hands-on training provided on the plane.

Welcome onboard the Flying Eye Hospital.

Week One: Simulation Training

After landing, our Volunteer Faculty and Flying Eye Hospital staff hit the ground running, training teams using a full suite of cutting-edge simulation tools including virtual reality, prosthetic eyes, and life-like manikins.

Simulation training enables eye care professionals to grow in confidence by practicing surgical skills repetitively in a controlled environment, something that can’t be done on live patients. Once the skills are embedded, the specialist can then move on to surgery with the careful guidance of one of our highly experienced Volunteer Faculty.

Celebrating International Nurses Day

Nurses unite to celebrate International Nurses Day.

The first week of simulation training also coincided with International Nurses Day on Friday, May 12. It was amazing to see our staff and Volunteer Faculty team up with local nurses to celebrate the critical role that nurses play in delivering eye care.

Together, these extraordinary nurses are making an enormous impact by dedicating their lives to helping others. Following the training, local nurses will return to their communities with improved skills to help restore vision and deliver the best possible care for their patients for years to come.

Week Two: Meeting the Patients

The sight-saving project is now pushing ahead with hands-on training. Many of the patients have been 'pre-screened' via Cybersight weeks in advance, ensuring the in-person screening can be completed more efficiently.

Han had a hard time drawing and writing the letters of the alphabet, and she felt left out in her kindergarten class. Unfortunately, visual impairment often leads to shyness and social isolation in children. Luckily that was about to change.

On board the Flying Eye Hospital Han received life-changing surgery to lift her eyelid, delivered by Volunteer Faculty and oculoplastics superstar, Dr. H. Joon Kim, while two Vietnamese ophthalmologists, Dr. Tu Ngo The Thanh and Dr. Nhan Truong Nguyen Trong, assisted and observed.

As her surgeon, Volunteer Faculty Dr. H. Joon Kim, put it: “It’s really not just about lifting the eyelid; it’s about having a life-long impact on their social lives and their behavior altogether. You get to change their lives with a very straightforward and simple surgery — and that’s what I love doing every single day, seeing that transformation.”

Han will soon be back in school and, after years of being too shy to play with the other kids, her mom believes she will now be more confident than ever.

The rest of the meticulously planned project will continue to address the needs of local health personnel and contribute to the National Blindness Prevention Strategy, which was approved by the Prime Minister in 2016.

The Biggest Orbis Thank You

Orbis and FedEx have teamed up to bring this amazing project to life.

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.

Orbis wants to express a big thank you to FedEx for their generous sponsorship of this project. With their support, we are improving access to quality eye care for adults and children throughout the country, enabling families to see a future full of possibilities.

And of course, we also want to thank you, our fantastic supporters, for your amazing support. Your kindness is helping keep the Flying Eye Hospital in the sky, bringing eye care around the world.

While we’re making great strides in tackling avoidable blindness and vision loss in Vietnam, there are still many more people we need to reach with quality eye care. Please consider donating below.

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