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This flying hospital travels the world curing blindness

Take a look inside this Orbis plane, a fully certified hospital as well as a world-class training facility for teaching doctors in developing countries.

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Katie Collins

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The latest Orbis flying hospital was unveiled in June 2016. The third plane kitted out by Orbis, a nonprofit organization, in its 35-year history, it brings treatment and training to visually impaired people and those who operate on them around the world.

Published March 16, 2017.

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The McDonnell Douglass DC-10 aircraft used by Orbis is an old plane, but has been refitted with all the latest Boeing equipment, ensuring it's well up-to-date.

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Captain Gary Dyson has volunteered for Orbis for over 16 years. He takes breaks a couple of times a year from his day job as a FedEx pilot to fly the plane. He likes to stick around for screening day at every destination and always brings his guitar with him to play for patients as they wait to be seen.

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The passenger compartment doubles as a classroom for doctors and nurses.

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In the audiovisual room, technicians remotely control all of the cameras around the plane using touchscreen tech and ensure they're streaming correctly to onlookers.

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The laser room is used for simpler treatments.

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It's essential for training that the doctors are able to see what their trainees see, so cameras are used everywhere.

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Here, a doctor is using a simulator designed to teach how to perform eye exams.

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The operating theater always has twice the number of doctors and nurses as a normal theater due to trainees observing surgery.

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The plane is on camera from every angle. This makes it easier to stream what happens in the hospital to the outside world.

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Two people can look down these microscopes at any one time.

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Crucial to understanding eye surgery is seeing what happens in 3D, so trainees are equipped with polaroid glasses while they watch the action unfold on 3D screens.

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Every child who has eye surgery on Orbis wakes up with a teddy bear. The teddies are donated by Omega and always wear an eye patch on the same eye as the child.

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These generators travel in the hold of the plane, but are unloaded when it lands to create more room for biomedical staff to work.

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All biomedical equipment is also strapped into the hold when the plane is in transit so that it doesn't get damaged.

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