Orbis and UC Davis Health train eye care teams from Latin America

The in-person training project overlapped with World Sight Day on Thursday, October 13, a global day of awareness celebrated each year to focus the world’s attention on the importance of eye care.

In the leadup to World Sight Day, Orbis and UC Davis Health announced the launch of a new training project on board the Flying Eye Hospital. Over the course of the two-week program, our clinical staff and Volunteer Faculty, along with UC Davis Medical Health physicians and staff shared their knowledge with nearly 50 ophthalmologists, ophthalmology residents, nurses, and biomedical engineers from Bolivia, Chile and Peru, helping them build skills to fight avoidable blindness in their communities.

The ophthalmologists and ophthalmology residents participating in the training honed their skills using leading-edge ophthalmic surgical simulation training technology on the Flying Eye Hospital, which was parked at Moffett Federal Airfield, in Mountain View, California.

The nurses and biomedical engineers participated in hands-on training at the UC Davis Health Center for Simulation and Education Enhancement, a state-of-the-art facility focused on supporting interprofessional medical education and research activities, in Sacramento, California. Simulation training allows the visiting eye care teams to grow their confidence in a training environment before moving on to real-life surgical procedures.

Dr. David Lubarsky

CEO of UC Davis Health

At UC Davis Health, we are com­mit­ted to health equi­ty and suc­cess­ful out­comes for patients – every­where. As a nation­al­ly ranked teach­ing hos­pi­tal, an impor­tant part of what we do is share our treat­ment tech­niques and med­ical research with oth­er providers. This part­ner­ship with Orbis will pro­vide train­ing to improve eye health and help pre­vent blind­ness in places where access to care is lim­it­ed, and providers can’t eas­i­ly make it to Cal­i­for­nia. We’re excit­ed about shar­ing our exper­tise in this way and tak­ing the train­ing to places where it will help patients around the globe.”

Vision Loss in Latin America

Learning surgical skills for cataract removal was a major focus of the training for the ophthalmologists and ophthalmology residents. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in Bolivia and Peru, despite being treatable with an operation that can take as little as ten to fifteen minutes. Participants also learned to treat other conditions that threaten vision, including glaucoma and macular degeneration, respectively the second- and third-most common causes of blindness in Bolivia and Peru. A select group of these participants, who were already highly experienced ophthalmologists, also participated in a train-the-trainer course, which helped deepen their ability to train the next generation of eye care professionals. This helps ensure ongoing continuity of eye care training and enhanced local access to eye care in their home countries.

Derek Hodkey

President & CEO of Orbis International

Orbis has a long his­to­ry of train­ing eye care pro­fes­sion­als in Latin Amer­i­ca. After deliv­er­ing vir­tu­al train­ings through­out the pan­dem­ic in the region, we are thrilled to host par­tic­i­pants once again for in-per­­son train­ing on board the Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal. This project rep­re­sents a won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­vide qual­i­ty hands-on train­ing through sim­u­la­tion as a means to fight against avoid­able blind­ness around the world.”

Nurses trained in simulated emergency scenarios, patient recovery, operating room procedures and sterilization practices. In addition, nurses received an orientation to eye banking and got hands-on experience evaluating corneal tissue at Sierra Donor Services Eye Bank. Senior nurses also participated in a train-the-trainer course integrated into the nursing training program. Biomedical engineers and technicians received training in ophthalmic equipment maintenance and repair. Part of this training included a workshop hosted by biomedical engineers from Alcon, a long-time supporter of Orbis.

Return to In-person Training

Just two short months ago, we were able to return to in-person, hands-on training on our Flying Eye Hospital and in our partner hospitals for the first time since the pandemic began—an unmistakable sign of hope in the fight against avoidable blindness and vision loss. By taking everything we’ve learned about the power of virtual learning during the pandemic and incorporating it into in-person training models, we're helping eye care teams get the most out of their learning experiences, ensuring patients continue to receive safe, world-class care, no matter where they live.

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