Having a selection of the latest movies on a plane is great, but what about a selection of the latest eye treatment? Orbis is a flying hospital that offers more than your average cabin crew.
The non-profit organization takes eye surgeons thousands of feet into the air, to bring them back down into areas of need. Since 1982 the team of volunteers have been not only making operations, but also teaching local surgeons the procedures so that they can continue to operate after they’re gone.
The group says that it’s the only U.S. accredited hospital which is not based on land. And no, they don’t operate through turbulence. In fact, the team claim that it’s the perfect environment for surgery. The jet, which is a converted Boeing MD-10, has an operating room, which also serves as a multi-camera TV studio. This means that they can broadcast their surgeries online, or send 3D video footage of the operation to doctors wearing 3D glasses in the adjacent 48-seated classroom.
The jet-stream hospital is also incredibly well-equipped. It has two lasers – one for the treatment of glaucoma, and another for retina conditions. It also makes for a perfect isolated environment. For instance, the customized air-conditioning system makes it possible to operate in otherwise sweltering conditions in climates like sub-Saharan Africa.
However despite the snazzy gear, the volunteers teach methods that reflect the area. If a procedure is very helpful but requires some expensive equipment, it’s not much good for financially poor areas. Thus, the team always use methods that can be easily integrated. The most up-to-date procedures can cost up to $10,000, however, for treating cataracts for example, the surgeons teach a method called manual small incision.
It’s nearly as effective and costs as little as just $10 to perform.
As well as flying from continent to continent, Orbis has offices placed all over the world that share the same mission of bringing accessible eye care to everyone that needs it.
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