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Media Release

Alcon and Orbis celebrate new Flying Eye Hospital’s visit to the UK


World’s only ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an aircraft opens its doors at Stansted

  • Alcon equipped state-of-the art operating theatre with surgical equipment to treat cataract and vitreoretinal conditions
  • The Alcon Foundation also sponsored the onboard classroom to train local medical teams while also broadcasting worldwide
  • The new, third-generation Orbis Flying Eye Hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft is open to supporters at London Stansted Airport between March 11th and 17th


London, March 16, 2017 – Alcon, a global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, and Orbis, the international charity that fights blindness around the world, today celebrate their partnership and the new Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, at London Stansted airport. More than six years in the making, the aircraft is the world’s only fully accredited mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital. Take a virtual tour of the plane here: www.orbis.org/pages/flying-eye-hospital-uk

Hundreds of experts have come together to combine the latest in avionics, hospital engineering, technology and clinical expertise to make the new Flying Eye Hospital a reality. Onboard, Alcon supplied the operating room with key equipment to perform eye surgeries: the CENTURION® Vision System, an intelligent phacoemulsification platform that enhances surgical control during cataract surgery and provides an overall smoother procedure, improving ultimately outcomes for cataract patients; and the CONSTELLATION® Vision System, which supports the delivery of exceptional, precise vitreoretinal surgeries through enhanced anterior and posterior capabilities.

The Alcon Foundation classroom seats 46 and is equipped with the latest 3-D broadcasting technology and two-way audio communication to enhance participants’ learning experience.

“Alcon has been a partner of Orbis from the very beginning and over the last 30 years, has helped us to train thousands of medical professionals across the world through their generous donation of state of the art equipment. We are extremely grateful for their incredible support;” said Rebecca Cronin, CEO at Orbis UK. “Through our training programmes, we have enabled the very same medical professionals to treat many more people struggling with preventable blindness within their communities – restoring hope and vision to those who may have previously been unable to access the care they needed.”

More than 285 million people are visually impaired, and four out of five suffer from preventable eye conditions. Orbis and its partners have helped countries build the skills and resources they need to prioritise and deliver quality eye care to their local communities. Their team of over 400 expert medical volunteers from 30 countries, accomplishes this by training local medical teams both within local hospitals and on the Flying Eye Hospital, emphasising quality and safety standards for patient care.

“The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital has technical prowess, assisting the Orbis team to bring quality care to places where access to eye care treatment is scarce. Alcon shares the same goal as Orbis to fight visual impairment and eye disease” said Pierre Bourdage, General Manager of Alcon UK & Ireland. “This year is the 70th anniversary of Alcon® and thanks to the active collaboration with Orbis we have been able to live out our mission to innovate and advance eye care. Our partnership will allow Alcon® to continue enhancing sight and improving lives.”

In addition to supporting the surgical equipment, disposable products and classroom on the Flying Eye Hospital, Alcon regularly contributes with targeted educational activities to raise funds for Orbis. Last October, Alcon donated EUR 25,000 to support a comprehensive eye health programme designed to develop and increase access to high-quality eye care services at Yaoundé Central Hospital in Cameroon, Africa. At London Stansted airport, Alcon volunteers are supporting Orbis in the organisation of their activities.

In UK and Ireland, Alcon employs more than 600 associates who manufacture, market and distribute the Alcon vision care and surgical product portfolios. Headquartered in Camberley, Surrey, the company offers medical education through the Alcon Academy which provides a dedicated training and education facility and programmes for healthcare professionals. The mission of the Alcon® Academy is to facilitate educational excellence, to enable learning at all levels and optimise patient outcomes and care. Alcon®runs a bespoke wet lab designed to enhance learning by simulating surgical procedures and a dry lab with optometrist examination rooms and state of the art ophthalmic testing.

In Cork, Ireland, Alcon operates the European manufacturing center for AcrySof® intraocular lenses, used in cataract surgeries to replace the natural lens, and which can provide additional vision correction at multiple focal points, to help address refractive problems such as presbyopia.

About the Flying Eye Hospital

The MD-10 aircraft housing the new Flying Eye Hospital has been donated to Orbis by FedEx, and received generous funding from long term partner, the Alcon Foundation. The plane has been custom designed to bring the best of medical technology and training to the developing world. In addition to the Alcon Foundation Classroom, The Flying Eye Hospital includes an AV/IT room, patient care and laser treatment room, operating room, sterilization room and a pre-and post-operative care room. The hospital suite comprises nine customised modules built on commercial cargo containers.

The plane boasts new 3D filming and broadcast capabilities so that participants in the classroom can experience and learn from live surgeries with a view similar to the surgeon’s microscope lens. The Cybersight telemedicine platform provides partner doctors free continuing medical education and mentorship from anywhere in the world, with availability to connect on difficult cases, share real-time diagnoses, and more, in the effort to use new technology to bridge healthcare gaps around the world.

About Orbis

  • Since 1982, Orbis has been working to prevent and treat avoidable blindness in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Working with a global team of volunteers - the world’s leading ophthalmic medical experts - Orbis delivers between 4-8 training programmes on-board the Flying Eye Hospital, and approximately 40 hospital based training programmes each year.
  • Orbis runs 40 long-term programmes across the world in countries including: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Bangladesh, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Peru.

Discover more about Orbis at www.orbis.org.uk. Follow Orbis on twitter @UKORBIS and like Orbis on Facebook www.facebook.com/ORBISUK

About Alcon

Alcon is a global leader in eye care. As a division of Novartis, we offer the broadest portfolio of products to enhance sight and improve people’s lives. Our products touch the lives of more than 260 million people each year living with conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases and refractive errors, and there are millions more who are waiting for solutions to meet their eye care needs. Our purpose is reimagining eye care, and we do this through innovative products, partnerships with eye care professionals and programmes that enhance access to quality eye care. Learn more at www.alcon.com.

Alcon is on Facebook. Like us at www.facebook.com/AlconEyeCare


Alcon Media Relations

Irina Ferluga
Mobile. + 41 79 824 1121
[email protected]

Saoyuth Nidh
Mobile: +41 79 969 7757
[email protected]