Flying Eye Hospital Lands in Vietnam

September 2019

Our world-class Flying Eye Hospital has arrived in Hue, Vietnam, for a three-week teaching and training project working alongside the Ministry of Health and the Hue Eye Hospital.

The project marks the tenth time our Flying Eye Hospital has visited Vietnam since 2006. In the last 13 years more than 1500 patients have been examined on the aircraft, with nearly 800 adults and children receiving sight saving surgery on board the plane.

Of course, as the plane is primarily a teaching facility the real impact comes in those we train - around 1300 doctors, nurses and medical technicians have received training on board the plane from some of the best ophthalmologists, nurses and biomedical engineers in the world.

You can go to any remote part of the world, do a hundred surgeries, you help 100 patients which is good but it's not that good because there are millions of patients. What's good about Orbis is when we come here to teach, we handpick carefully selected physicians that have gaps in their knowledge and things that are currently not being provided for the local community. We come here, we spend a week, we teach the local physicians in continuing to do things so we take care of much more than 100 patients that way.

Dr Tim McCulley

Orbis Volunteer Faculty

Our Flying Eye Hospital supports our long-term eye health programs in Vietnam and is a vital part of our strategy – not only providing state-of-the art training equipment like the Collins Aerospace Mobile Simulation Center – but also raising vital awareness with governments and ministries of health.

We actually began working in Vietnam as far back as 1996, ten years before the plane first touched down. By 2000 we’d help set up a number of long-term projects and by 2003 we’d established a permanent office in Hanoi. In 2018 alone our Vietnam team helped train 1750 eye health professionals, screen 200k children, prescribe 40k pairs of glasses and perform 9k eye surgeries.

Image gallery: The Flying Eye Hospital arrives at Hue International Airport

Our Flying Eye Hospital supports our long-term eye health programs in Vietnam and is a vital part of our strategy – not only providing state-of-the art training equipment like the Collins Aerospace Mobile Simulation Center – but also raising vital awareness with governments and ministries of health.

We actually began working in Vietnam as far back as 1996, ten years before the plane first touched down. By 2000 we’d help set up a number of long-term projects and by 2003 we’d established a permanent office in Hanoi. In 2018 alone our Vietnam team helped train 1750 eye health professionals, screen 200k children, prescribe 40k pairs of glasses and perform 9k eye surgeries.

Image gallery: The Flying Eye Hospital arrives at Hue International Airport

Surgery will take place in the plane’s Operating Room, where local teams will be able to ask questions in real-time from our onboard classroom. In addition to being broadcast in 3D in plane's 42-seater classroom, the surgeries are also beamed around the world via our telehealth platform, Cybersight. This allows eye teams from all across the globe to watch and participate in real time, expanding the impact of our work further than ever before.

There are 400,000 adults and 23,000 children in Vietnam who are blind - 75% of whom simply don't need to be. While blindness in Vietnam has decreased over the last decade, the country continues to struggle with providing eye care, especially in rural areas. Quality of care, training and human resources still remain problematic with only 15 ophthalmologists per million people.

But with the help of our supporters, partners and Volunteer Faculty we can help build a brighter future for Vietnam, and give generations to come, the opportunity to see the world around them.