Africa

Flying eye hospital helps blind to see

Updated 4:08 AM ET, Tue January 21, 2014
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The "Flying Eye Hospital" flies to developing countries to treat people with blinding diseases. From the outside it's just a regular plane ... courtesy Geoff Oliver Bugbee/ORBIS
But inside the plane there is a surgical theater and a screening room for patients. Claire Louise Thomas/ORBIS
The plane also has a 48-seat classroom, where visiting medics can train local doctors in new procedures and techniques. Claire Louise Thomas/ORBIS
The flying eye hospital is run by ORBIS, a U.S.-based non-profit organization.
Selected patients are screened by ORBIS medical volunteers. Priority is given to children, people who are bilaterally blind, those who can't afford to have the surgery otherwise, and are good teaching cases.
Jon-Hyams/ORBIS
In October 2013 the plane traveled to Yaounde in Cameroon, and its doctors visited the Yaounde Central Hospital. courtesy ORBIS
A child with cataracts, treated by ORBIS in Ndola, Zambia. Geoff Oliver Bugbee/ORBIS
The plane is fitted with high-tech training equipment, such as this "cataract simulator." A vital part of ORBIS's work is not only treating patients, but training and educating local medics so that they can continue eye treatments long after the Flying Hospital has left. Courtesy of ORBIS
If you peek through the plane's window you can see an operation underway, like this one in Uganda. Courtesy of ORBIS
Flanked by his fellow Panamanian physicians and support nurse staff, Dr Ernesto Otero performs a teaching case in the plane's operating room. Courtey of ORBIS
A camera phone is a useful tool in documenting teaching cases. Dr Adolfo Guemes, ORBIS volunteer ophthalmologist from Buenos Aires, uses his phone camera to document some of his teaching cases. Courtesy of ORBIS
Staff at the Flying Eye Hospital also provide advice on how to protect eyes from injury by wearing safety glasses or protective goggles. Clare Louise Thomas/ORBIS
The plane contains a complete ophthalmic operating suite, including a four-bed pre-operation and recovery room, sub sterile room and laser room. Courtesy of ORBIS
Blessjah Adegoke is embraced by his father after his eye operation. Clare Louise Thomas/ORBIS
The ORBIS mascot teddy is ready for take off. Courtesy of ORBIS