Over 100 Trips. All Orbis Countries. Countless Lives Impacted.
"It's the power of having a novel approach to a seious problem. Our plane holds real value, it stimulates interest, it grants access…it allows us to tain huge numbers in short burst. The new FEH reinforces our role as a leader in education and stimulating interest in eye care."
Support former VF and Medical Director of the Flying Eye Hospital: Dr. Simon Holland
For the past several decades, Dr. Holland has been a constant presence aboard the Flying Eye Hospital. A veteran in the fight against blindness, he has volunteered with Orbis since 1982, serving as the Field Medical Director on the original Flying Eye Hospital’s first trip abroad.
Looking back on his career with Orbis, Dr. Holland recalls how Orbis served as a pioneer for eye health missions in its early years.
"I remember treating a patient with one-eye. She was maybe 14 or 15 and she'd been abandoned by her parents, she was in an orphanage. We managed to get her vision back with a Cornea Transplant. At the time in Hai Kou City where we were, there was not a big medical program - this was 20 years ago, no one was doing Cornea Transplants - and it was part of a demonstration we did onboard the plane."
The Flying Eye Hospital’s ability to travel throughout the world to train and communicate with hundreds of doctors has a profound rippling effect on communities. For Dr. Holland, this effect was no better seen than on his trip to Karachi in the 1980's.
While hard at work on the Flying Eye Hospital, "the President of Pakistan came onboard the plane and asked why couldn’t they do this in their own hospitals. So we showed him our equipment, our teaching microscopes which they didn’t have at the time and he told his people to make it happen. And it did happen. We returned to Karachi a few months later and there were 6 microscopes in the city’s main hospital."
Training medical personnel and creating long-lasting infrastructure is something that Dr. Holland prides himself on. As pioneers and leaders of eye-health, Orbis strives create self-sufficient programs so that quality eye care becomes a norm for all.
In the fall of 2018, Dr. Holland was awarded the prestigious 2018 Mentor of the Year Award, Region 1 from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for his outstanding work as a teacher and mentor to other eye health professionals in Canada and abroad.
We've accomplished great things together – but there's still more to do.
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Remember – It only takes $50 to save the sight of an adult and $100 to restore the sight of a child!