“The ability to provide remote training during the pandemic ensures important skill-acquisition continues,” says Dr. Peter Kertes, a Toronto VR surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, who recently gave a presentation on Cybersight. “The platform Orbis has developed is world-class and provides a means to reach and impact thousands of professionals – perhaps never needed more than now as COVID-19 alters the way we learn and work.”

When the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital touches down, it’s an incredible sight. A plane unlike any other, it has flown training to eye care professionals in places with the greatest need for nearly forty years, giving them the skills to save and restore vision in their communities. This state-of-the-art facility has an operating room, classroom, simulation room, and recovery room, and has become a highly visible symbol for Orbis, an international nonprofit.

“This work is essential,” says Orbis Canada CEO Lisa McKeen. “Many of us cannot imagine losing our sight because we couldn’t access a routine operation or a pair of glasses. But globally, at least 1 in 7 people live with blindness or vision impairment that could be prevented or addressed.”

Orbis is committed to using the plane and other advanced technology to prevent and treat avoidable blindness. With more than 400 Volunteer Faculty (medical experts) from over 30 countries, Orbis provides training across the globe. Per capita, Canada boasts the largest number of Volunteer Faculty, a talented group of ophthalmologists, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other eye health professionals who donate their time to the cause. Now, with COVID-19 restricting travel and the Flying Eye Hospital temporarily grounded, Orbis’s investment in technology has proven essential in allowing this work to continue safely.

For nearly two decades, Cybersight, Orbis’s telemedicine platform, has connected eye care teams to expert mentors, often in remote and conflict-affected areas where the plane could not travel. Now, it’s a lifeline, allowing education programs to continue in a time when in-person training often isn’t possible due to the need for social distancing. Amid the pandemic, Orbis has seen record-breaking growth on Cybersight, which now has 30,000 registered eye care professionals from 200 countries and regions, eager to learn and acquire new skills to advance patient care.

The team at Orbis proves superheroes can still fly – even while their plane is temporarily grounded.

Learn more about the work of Orbis Canada at Orbis.org.

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Global Heroes Magazine #2 - September 2020
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Orbis logo Global Heroes Magazine 002 - September 2020

Orbis is the result of a unique and lasting alliance forged between the medical and aviation industries. In the 1970s, leaders of these two industries came together to create the plan that led to the foundation of Orbis.

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