Flying Eye Hospital Lands in Jamaica

March 2019

The first Flying Eye Hospital project of 2019 is under way – marking the 8th time the plane has landed in Jamaica and our 25th project in the Caribbean!

The Flying Eye Hospital team arrive in Jamaica

According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness over 1.1 million people suffer from vision loss in the Caribbean, with Cataract accounting for 50% of this. With access to the right type of care, blindness due to cataract is entirely reversible.

The current state of eye health across the Caribbean may be challenging but through this project we’ll be strengthening the skills of eye teams not only from Jamaica, but right across the region.

Flying Eye Hospital Crew Arrive in Jamaica

Say hello to our Flying Eye Hospital Jamaica crew

Throughout the three-week project, the team will be joined by 22 Orbis Volunteer Faculty who’ll be sharing their immense skills and knowledge with local teams. Hailing from the US, Canada, UK, India and Mexico, this truly is a global effort to fight blindness.

Our Volunteer Faculty are the heartbeat of the Orbis family

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Two of these volunteers are from Canada. Long-time Orbis faculty member Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy, Professor & Chairman, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto and Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at the Kensington Eye Institute, as well as Mr. Leo de Kryger, a Biomedical Engineer from Orleans, ON. We would like to thank them both for giving up their free time to help others.

Long-term approach

Since 1982, we’ve worked in over 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. We’re currently focused on building existing relationships and expanding and scaling in countries where we have long-term projects including Guyana, Peru, Chile and Bolivia.

We focus on key and emerging eye diseases and their causes including Cataract, Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma and Retinopathy of Prematurity. By building capacity, undertaking research and working closely with partners, our goal is to improve the quality of eye care available for generations to come.

In the Latin America and Caribbean region, we combine all of our innovative training platforms to further our mission to fight avoidable blindness. As one of these innovative platforms, the Flying Eye Hospital provides clinical and surgical training to eye care teams, building skills knowledge and, more importantly, a culture of continuing medical education with our partners.

Amelia Geary

Director, Program Development & Quality

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Partnerships

We’d like to say a big thank-you to our local partners: the Ministry of Health, Ophthalmological Society of Jamaica, University Hospital of the West Indies and the University of the West Indies. Thank you for working with us so passionately to fight blindness in your communities.

Orbis meeting the Ministry of Health in Jamaica 2006

Meeting key partners during our 2006 program

A huge thank-you must also go to our project sponsor, FedEx, who have been supporting our mission and vision for 37 years. Not only did they donate the latest MD-10 aircraft which we converted into a fully accredited Flying Eye Hospital, but they continue to provide us with amazing volunteer pilots, as well as financial, logistical and operational support.

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital in Jamaica 2006 was supported by Fedex

FedEx also kindly sponsored our 2006 Jamaica program

FedEx also sponsored our last Flying Eye Hospital trip to Jamaica back in 2006. This may have been on our old DC-10 aircraft, but still involved many familiar faces including Communications Manager, Celia Yeung, and Chief Pilot, Captain Gary Dyson.

Take a look back at our 2006 Jamaica project with FedEx

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Our teams are looking forward to working with some familiar faces after our 2018 Flying Eye Hospital project in Barbados. But thanks to the state-of-the art audio/visual technology on board the aircraft, live surgeries will be broadcast far beyond the Caribbean.

Thanks to our online telehealth platform, Cybersight, the 42 local eye health professionals sitting in the onboard classroom will not be the only ones benefiting from lectures and live surgery. Now, anyone with a smartphone or tablet can watch and interact with our Volunteer Faculty via Cybersight.

Stay tuned for more updates on this amazing project.

Discover more about this amazing aircraft