Orbis International is a non-profit non-governmental organization that is now celebrating this year its 34th anniversary of saving the vision of many people worldwide. This organization focuses on preventing and treating blinding diseases in developing countries. The Orbis group of surgeons, nurses, technicians, and support staff treat as well as teach the local professionals the skills to care for those with vision impairments even after the Orbis group departs the visited site. Orbis is headquartered in New York with offices in Toronto, London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore, and Cape Town.
has had the honor of participating on many Orbis trips throughout the world. This program is very dear to his heart. Being able to provide his skills to save the sight of those who otherwise would be blind and to teach local ophthalmologist the skills to treat their patients is very gratifying to him. Dr. Katzen has been on missions to Malawi (Africa)’84, Peking (China) ’85, Jamaica ’86, Ankara (Turkey) ’87, Dominican Republic ’87, Isle of Malta ’88, Costa Rica ’90, Cali (Colombia) ’91, Thailand ’92, Lima (Peru) ’95, Santiago de Cuba (Cuba) ’97, Ciego de Avila (Cuba) ’98, and Mandalay 2000. Dr. Katzen is looking to go on a trip soon on the new Orbis aircraft.
The Orbis organization has two main programs enabling them to achieve their worldwide goals the Flying Eye Hospital, and Cybersight. The Flying Eye Hospital is equipped with operating rooms, testing equipment, and a lecture room for teaching medical professionals. Cybersight is their telemedicine program to provide mentoring, consultations, and training.
The Flying Hospital is on its third generation. The first one was a DC-8 donated by United Airlines in 1982. The second generation was a DC-10 which was placed in service in 1994. This plane had twice the interior space than the DC-8. And in 2011, FedEx donated their newest plane an MD-10-30F. This third generation flying hospital houses operation rooms, recovery rooms, a backup generator, a water treatment plant, air conditioning system, and a 46 seat classroom.
Cybersight is a telemedicine portal which allows eye care workers to ask questions and be instructed on new methods by mentors free of charge. This portal provides a continual education program long after the Orbis plane leaves a site. The program has live lectures and offers on line courses enabling eye care workers to take tests and receive certification of achievements.
Since 1982, Orbis program has provided sight saving ophthalmic treatments to more than 2.3 million individuals in 92 counties and has enhanced the skills of more than 325,000 eye care personnel. The Orbis program brings the world together to fight avoidable blindness. It is estimated that 80% of all visual impairment in the world can be avoided or cured. The 5 main eye conditions responsible for the loss of vision for so many individuals are: Cataracts (responsible for 65% of world blindness), Glaucoma (6 million sufferers), Infections, Central Ulcerations, Scarring, and lastly Injuries.