Orbis and Alcon launch two-week training for Caribbean eye care teams to tackle preventable blindness in local communities
Learning surgical skills for cataract removal will be a major focus of training. Cataract remains the leading cause of blindness worldwide2 although it can be treated with an operation which can take as little as ten to fifteen minutes. Participants will also learn how to treat other conditions that threaten vision, including glaucoma, the most common cause of irreversible blindness. A select group of these participants, who are already highly experienced ophthalmologists, will also participate in a train-the-trainer course, which will deepen their ability to train the next generation of eyecare professionals. This helps ensure continuity and local access to eye care in their home country.
“When the pandemic broke out in March 2020we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the second half of a training we were providing in fort worth in partnership with Alcon, so we couldn’t think of a more suitable location for the Flying Eye Hospital to return to in-person programming,” said Derek Hodkey, President and CEO of Orbis International. “As the aircraft has continued its mission virtually for the past two years, it is an unmistakable sign of hope, a chance to pick up where we left off and an opportunity to apply new innovations to our fight. against avoidable blindness.
Alcon, through its charitable foundations Alcon Foundation and Alcon Cares, has generously supported Orbis for over forty years, providing monetary donations and state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment, surgical products and supplies for Orbis’ Flying Eye Hospital. and partner hospitals around the world. Alcon’s expert biomedical engineers and trainers also participate in Orbis programs, sharing their skills and knowledge to help program participants learn to use and maintain essential medical technology.
“Alcon is proud of its more than 40-year partnership with Orbis, as we have worked together to improve volume and access to quality eye care that benefits underserved populations in communities around the world,” said David Endicott, CEO of Alcon. “We are excited to welcome participating learners to our Fort Worth Alcon Experience Center, where they will have hands-on experience with Alcon surgical equipment to build their skills and confidence in eye care techniques such as cataract Phaco, the medical retina and glaucoma procedures.”
Globally, Alcon operates 10 AECs as well as 26 training centers and 42 wet labs where training is focused on developing ophthalmologists and optometrists to master the latest techniques and technologies.
This year, Orbis also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first flight of the Flying Eye Hospital. Since 1982, three generations of the Flying Eye Hospital have trained with eye care teams in more than 95 countries around the world. In 2020, Orbis redesigned Flying Eye Hospital in-person trainings as virtual trainings to ensure eye care teams can still access critical training safely during the pandemic. Orbis reached nine countries in 2020 and 34 countries in 2021 through Flying Eye Hospital virtual projects. With the aircraft now returning to in-person programming, the virtual model developed by Orbis is used in conjunction with in-person training, a concept known as “blended learning”, to ensure participants can maximize the time spent with their mentors, continuing their education after the plane leaves and more.
Worldwide, 1.1 billion people live with vision loss and 90% of cases are completely preventable.3 Nine out of ten people living with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries,4 where quality eye care is often difficult, sometimes impossible, to access. An effective and sustainable solution to this challenge is to ensure that eyecare professionals in these countries can access quality eye care training, developing the skills they need to provide quality eye care to patients in their communities.
Over the past four decades, Orbis has performed tens of millions of eye screenings and performed eye surgeries and laser treatments for hundreds of thousands of patients. Orbis has also trained hundreds of thousands of eyecare professionals at all levels, including tens of thousands of physicians. Orbis-trained individuals then provide sight-saving care in their communities and, in many cases, train eye care professionals themselves.
Orbis is a leading global non-governmental organization that has pioneered the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for four decades. Orbis transforms lives by providing the skills, resources and knowledge needed to provide accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners, including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides practical training in ophthalmology, strengthens health infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health in programs. of public health. Orbis operates the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited eye teaching hospital aboard MD-10 aircraft, and an award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight. For the past ten consecutive years, Orbis has earned the coveted four-star rating from Charity Navigator for its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency, placing Orbis in the top 3% of US charities. In 2021, Orbis earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. To learn more, visit orbis.org.
Alcon helps people see brilliantly. As a global leader in eye care with a heritage of over 75 years, we offer the broadest portfolio of products to improve sight and improve people’s lives. Our surgical and vision care products touch the lives of more than 260 million people in more than 140 countries each year living with conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease and refractive errors. Our more than 24,000 associates improve quality of life through innovative products, partnerships with eye care professionals and programs that improve access to quality eye care. Learn more about www.alcon.com.
1 Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaicaand Trinidad and Tobago
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