Our Official Charity – ORBIS

The Aviation Club has selected international eye care charity Orbis as their official charity.

Orbis is an international charity that transforms lives across Africa, Asia and Latin America through the prevention and treatment of blindness. 253 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired, yet 75% of vision loss is avoidable.  

The organisation, which was founded in 1982, brings together the aviation and medical community through their unique Flying Eye Hospital.  

The aircraft, which stands at the cutting edge of medical innovation, appears as a typical passenger plane; however on the inside there is a state of the art operating theatre, with audio-visual equipment that transmits live operations to medical professionals in a 46 seat classroom at the front of the plane. The aircraft also features pre and post-op spaces and a laser eye suite.  

In this space, Orbis medical volunteers train local medical professionals and transfer skills into their hospital, leaving a lasting impact for future generations.

Orbis’s founders, who were from the aviation and medical industries, believed that the most effective way to help fight blindness in low and middle income countries was through training local ophthalmologists. Due to the cost and logistical barriers for those doctors to train abroad, they decided to bring the school to the doctors.

·       Orbis’s first Flying Eye Hospital was crafted inside an old DC-8 aircraft, which took its first flight to Panama in 1982.  

·       In 1994, Orbis launched their second generation Flying Eye Hospital on board a much larger DC-10 plane which delivered its first programme in China.  

·       In 2016, the medical and aviation community came together once more to update the Flying Eye Hospital on board an MD-10, donated by FedEx. You can take a virtual tour of this amazing aeroplane here

Over the years, Orbis has expanded its work and now ensures that it trains the entire eye care team, running programmes to develop the skills of local surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists, biomedical engineers and more. In addition, the charity runs long term programmes to address eye health in areas of need, educating teachers and primary healthcare workers to spot eye conditions, educating communities on the importance of eye health and how to act should they experience any symptoms, and strengthening health systems, so that people can swiftly access the eye care they need.

Karl Brunjes, Chairman of Aviation Club UK said: “The Flying Eye is a unique hospital. It gives sight to those who need it most. In our industry, vision is absolutely key and we take it for granted at our peril. I am confident our members will support this charity with their hearts and more importantly their pockets.”

Nilly Sutton, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Orbis UK said: “Partnering with Aviation Club UK is a fantastic opportunity for Orbis, and I am so thankful to the Committee for selecting our cause. I’m looking forward to working with the team and the members to provide an interesting insight into the role of aviation in the fight against avoidable blindness, and easy ways in which they can support our work.”

Discover more here: www.orbis.org