Orbis flying eye hospital has stopover in Goodyear

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A world-famous hospital paid a visit to the Valley on Friday.

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, which jets around the world and help give people the gift of sight amd teaches eye surgeons in developing countries, was in Goodyear for a stopover.

The plane is one of a kind.

"What we do is there are 253 million in world who are visually impaired, and there are roughly 36 million that are blind. Our deal is going after that 36 million," said Bruce Johnson, Orbis international director of flight operations. "The cataracts, the glaucoma."

The plane is a widebody MD 10-30 that dates back to 1973, and it has everything, including a classroom up front to teach eye doctors, an opthamology lab with simulators to help medical students learn how to do eye surgery, and and a state-of-the art operating room.

The plane is a self-contained, fully accredited hospital in the air. It hop-scotches across the globe, training eye doctors and treating people who might otherwise go blind.

"I love working with the people going to different countries and trying to make a difference to someone's life," said Monelle Ross, a nurse with Orbis International. "Just to see the smile of the people the parents, the thankfulness I think, it is just fabulous."

At the rear of the plane is a recovery room, which is complete with teddy bears for young patients. The Orbis eye hospital has visited over 90 countries, and it is about to take off again. The next three destinations for this flying eye hospital are Peru, Barbados, and Mongolia.


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