Flying Eye Hospital Lands in Chile For State-of-the-Art Simulation Training

May 2019

The Flying Eye Hospital has touched down in Santiago, Chile, for the very first time ahead of its second project of 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our project sponsor Collins Aerospace, we will focus on strengthening the skills of local teams through cutting-edge simulation training.

Gallery: The flight between Memphis and Santiago

Touch down

After the flight from Memphis to Santiago, the team got straight to work converting the MD-10 from aircraft mode to hospital mode.

Over the next two weeks, the aircraft will see ophthalmologists, nurses and anesthesiologists step on board from across the region, where 2.3 million are blind and 12.4 million people are visually impaired.

Gallery: Getting the plane ready for training

Orbis in Latin America

Since Orbis was founded we have worked in over 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Our Flying Eye Hospital first landed in Peru in 1982 and since then has touched down in Panama, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Cuba, Uruguay, El Salvador and Dominican Republic over the years, so we’re delighted to land in Chile for the first time ever.

We also have long-term country programs in Peru, Bolivia and Guyana where we work alongside local partners to help tackle conditions such as Diabetic Retinopathy and Retinopathy of Prematurity.

41% of childhood blindness in Latin America is due to Retinopathy of Prematurity - a condition found in premature babies and if undedected will lead to irreversible blindness.

By raising awareness of eye conditions and promoting referral networks amongst the local population, building capacity within the health system and strengthening the skills of local teams through projects such as this - we’re helping thousands of people get the eyesight they deserve.

Simulation Training

Here's our Flying Eye Hospital Memphis-Santiago flight staff and crew

Led by our dedicated team of expert volunteers, this type of simulation training is a first for the country and allows complex surgical skills to be practiced in a controlled environment. This helps build the skills and confidence of junior eye doctors before they graduate to operating on real life patients.

Gallery: Simulation training in Chile

The simulation training breaks down a complex surgery into smaller parts allowing local teams to focus on a certain skill - something you can’t do with a human eye.

Our program will cover glaucoma, cataract, strabismus, medical retina, cornea, and pterygium, geared towards second-and-third year ophthalmology residents as well as postgraduate ophthalmologists from Chile, Bolivia and Peru.

Simulation training is another example of how we’re using technology and innovation to improve the quality of eye health globally.

A Big Thank You

We couldn’t develop a high quality infrastructure of eye care services without the support of our generous supporters, volunteers and amazing partners listed here.

A big thank you to Collins Aerospace who donated the Mobile Simulation Center

  • Collins Aerospace who not only sponsored this project but donated the Mobile Simulation Center
  • Ministry of Health in Chile
  • Chilean Society of Ophthalmology
  • Faculty of Medicine of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

And another thank you goes to our brilliant Volunteer Faculty for giving up their time to share their unique skills and expertise so Chile and the Latin American region can build a long-lasting legacy of eye care for generations to come.

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