Media release: Flying Eye Hospital 2019 in Hue

September 2019

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Returns to Vietnam for the Seventh Time
to Conduct a Three-week Regional Ophthalmic Training Project
This training project aims to strengthen the capacity of eye health professionals
in Central Vietnam.

Hue, Vietnam (August 21, 2019) – With the approval from the Prime Minister, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital - the world’s only U.S. accredited teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft – has returned to Vietnam to conduct a three-week ophthalmic training project in Hue from August 19 – September 6, 2019. It aims to enhance the capacity of our local partners, Hue Eye Hospital (HEH) and Hue Central Hospital (HCH) and to deliver pediatric eye care services in Hue and its neighboring provinces. The training will focus on cataract, glaucoma, strabismus, oculoplastic and retina diseases.

The Flying Eye Hospital has a long history of working in Vietnam . Since its first visit Da Nang in 2006, Orbis has successfully conducted FEH projects in Da Nang ( 2006, 2008, 2010), Ho Chi Minh City (2010), Hue (2015), Hanoi (2015), Can Tho (2017) and Binh Dinh (2017). This is the second visit of the FEH to Hue and the 7th time to Vietnam. Generously sponsored by Alcon, Omega and Boeing, Orbis’s global corporate partners, this project provides continued medical education tailored for local ophthalmologists, nurses, anesthesiologists, biomedical engineers, and other allied eye health professionals through lectures, case discussions, simulation, observation, hands-on training, workshops and symposia. Lectures and surgeries on board the Flying Eye Hospital will be broadcasted live to participants around the world via cybersight.org, Orbis’s telemedicine platform.

According to a 2015 national survey of rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB), cataract is the leading cause of blindness in Vietnam, followed by posterior segment diseases, corneal scar, and glaucoma. The survey revealed that population growth, increase in the aging population, nutrition, and changes in lifestyle caused the country to move from lower income to a middle-income nation, these changes create the new challenges to eye care. Childhood blindness, Diabetic Retinopathy and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) are currently most critical blindness challenges.

Hue is the capital of Thua Thien–Hue Province, located in central region of the country where the prevalence of blindness is found to be the highest. It is estimated that 4,900 children are blind, 50,000 children have some type of strabismus and 500,000 children have refractive errors which are a major cause of vision loss. The paediatric ophthalmology services are in high demand in the region, however, there are only a limited number of trained ophthalmologists who could provide paediatric surgery and other procedures.

In an effort to address these issues, since 2009 Orbis Vietnam implemented the project “Expanded Child Eye Care Services in Vietnam’s Central Region”, to enhance the capacity of HEH to provide tertiary-level paediatric eye care service for the region. In addition, Orbis has helped improved the capacity of HCH in detection, treatment and case management for ROP and expand this service to the Central provinces. Finally, efforts have been made to increase the demand for paediatric eye care services in the region and mobilize community support to improve the service accessibility.

With various technical and financial supports from Orbis in last 10 years, including the FEH, Hue has become the third place in Vietnam able to provide comprehensive paediatric eye care for children, just after National Institute of Ophthalmology based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital. All children in Hue are regularly screened to detect eye problems for early treatments under the school and community eye screening programs. Those screening programs have been embedded under school health policy. The continuum of eye care services from communities to hospitals are in place in Hue and surrounding provinces in the Central region. The coverage of children eye care service in Hue is highest in the country, at nearly 90%.

About Orbis International

Orbis International (Orbis) is a leading global non-governmental organization that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of blindness for over 35 years. Orbis transforms lives by delivering the skills, resources and knowledge needed to deliver accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas. Orbis operates the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft. To learn more, please visit orbis.org.

About Alcon Foundation 

For more than 50 years, Alcon has been partnering with non-profit organizations that make a difference in advancing eye health, knowledge transfer, research and education, as well as enhancing access to quality eye care around the world. The Alcon Foundation awards grants to qualified, U.S.-based tax-exempt public 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that provide high-quality programs, trainings and community services with well-defined goals to enhance sight and enhance the lives of people who otherwise would not have access to proper eye care. For more information, visit www.alcon.com. Alcon is on Facebook. Like us at www.facebook.com/AlconEyeCare.


About Boeing

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defence, space and security systems, and global services. As the top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.

About OMEGA

The prestige watch manufacturer OMEGA was founded in Switzerland in 1848 and since then has been defined by its pioneering spirit and its innovative watchmaking. OMEGA is closely involved with a world of achievements including the conquest of space (its Speed master was the first watch worn on the Moon) and the ocean’s depths, unparalleled experience in sports timekeeping and the establishment of numerous precision records. OMEGA and the International Olympic Committee have extended their partnership through 2020. www.omegawatches.com.

Media contacts:

Nguyen Thuy Quynh

PR and Communications Manager

Orbis Vietnam

[email protected]


Sarah Yeoman

Communications Manager

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

[email protected]