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ORBIS - Transforming Lives Through Access to Quality Eye Health.
As pioneers in global eye health, we see an opportunity to cultivate better futures where we work. With steadfast partnerships, boundary-pushing tools, techniques and training, we can collaborate to achieve optimal, quality eye health for all. And, by improving access to quality eye health, we’re sharing our vision.
Orbis is the result of a unique and lasting alliance forged between the medical and aviation industries. In the 1970s, leaders of these two industries came together to create the plan that lead to the foundation of Orbis. We knew that the high costs of tuition, international travel and accommodations prevented most doctors and nurses in developing countries from participating in overseas training programs.
The solution was a mobile teaching hospital. With a fully equipped hospital onboard an airplane, doctors trained in the latest ophthalmic techniques, including pediatric ophthalmology, could bring their surgical knowledge and skills to doctors in developing countries through hands-on training and lectures. A grant from USAID and funds from private donors enabled us to successfully convert a DC-8 plane into a fully functional teaching eye hospital.
As we grew over the years, we added hospital-based training programs and fellowships to our portfolio to provide additional skills-building opportunities for eye care professionals. In 1999, to build the capacity of local partners, we created long-term country programs in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam – similar programs are also underway in parts of the Latin America and the Caribbean. Our permanent offices in these countries, run by local staff, develop and implement an array of multi-year projects to improve the quality and accessibility of eye care to residents, particularly in rural areas and impoverished urban communities. Many of these programs focus on the treatment and prevention of childhood blindness, cataract, trachoma and corneal disease.