The Aviation Club has selected international eye care charity Orbis as their official charity for 2017.
Orbis started in 1982 in response to the fact that 80% of blindness or visual impairment could be prevented with access to the right treatment. Orbis focuses its efforts in Africa, Asia and Latin America because 90% of the world’s 39 million blind people live in developing countries.
Orbis’s founders, who were from the aviation and medical industries, believed that the most effective way to help fight blindness in developing countries was through training local ophthalmologists. Due to the cost and logistical barriers for those doctors to train in the developed world, they decided to bring the school to the doctors.
- They built Orbis’s first Flying Eye Hospital 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 aircraft which delivered its first programme in China.
- In 2016 this alliance of medicine and aviation came together once again to update the Flying Eye Hospital on board an MD-10 donated by FedEx. You can take a virtual tour the new Flying Eye Hospital here https://streetvisit.com/portfolio/orbismd10/
- Orbis brings the world’s ophthalmic community together on the Flying Eye Hospital (http://gbr.orbis.org/preview/pages/find-out-more-flying-eye-hospital). It is one of the organisation’s tools in the fight against avoidable blindness, they also deliver their programmes through long term partnerships with hospitals and eye care institutions, and through the online learning platform, Cybersight. The approach is selected based on suitability for different needs in different locations. Together they train and share resources with the entire eye care team in disadvantaged areas, from health workers in rural clinics to eye surgeons in urban centres, so they can work together to save and restore vision.
- Jane Johnston, 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.”
- Kathryn Sweet, 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.”