About Us

Orbis is an international nonprofit that builds strong and sustainable eye care systems globally that put treatment and prevention within reach.

We believe in a world where everyone can access the eye care they need to thrive.

Changing the Way the World Sees.®

A staggering 90% of all vision loss is treatable or preventable. That equates to 1 billion people on this planet living with vision loss from avoidable causes. Nine out of ten people with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries, and 55% are women and girls.

To combat this, we build strong eye care systems that cover the full range of eye care services — from educating people about eye health and the importance of preventive care to identifying eye conditions in the community to providing treatment and follow-up services for those who need them.

We not only improve access to eye care in the communities that need it most, but we do it in a sustainable and strategic way that leaves a lasting legacy of vision

Strong and Sustainable Eye Care Systems

To make eye care systems strong and sustainable, Orbis works with Ministries of Health and partners with local medical facilities to ensure that:

  • public health agendas and budgets prioritize eye care
  • eye care is seamlessly incorporated into existing healthcare systems so that eye health contributes to patients’ overall health and wellbeing, and vice versa
  • quality eye care services are available and accessible where patients need them—whether in rural health centers or urban hospitals
  • eye care teams have the training and equipment they need to deliver high-quality sight-saving care.

Our values of Accountability, Commitment, Innovation, Integrity and Equity are the threads that connect our global team across geographies, languages, job functions and time zones

Turning an Idea Into Reality

The concept of Orbis was born in the late 1960s in the mind of Dr. David Paton, a renowned US ophthalmologist! Dr. Paton was a faculty member of The Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins who, after extended experiences abroad, recognized the lack of eye care and ophthalmic teaching in low income countries where blindness was widespread.

With help from various supporters, a donated plane from United Airlines, and a grant from USAID, a DC-8 plane was converted into the world’s first fully functional teaching eye hospital.

The first Flying Eye Hospital was officially christened in Houston, Texas at the Ellington Air Force Base and took off on its first project to Panama in May 1982.

Orbis in India

The first Flying Eye Hospital visit to India was in 1988 when the DC-8 landed in Hyderabad and Delhi to conduct training programs. Following multiple Flying Eye Hospital programs, Orbis identified India as a priority country and established an office in Delhi in 2000 to begin one of its several country programs. Ever since, Orbis has established the world’s largest network of Children’s Eye Centers: 33 centers across 17 states in India.

Over the years, Orbis India has worked in the areas of corneal blindness and eye banking, childhood blindness, quality assurance, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy.



Passionate about helping the world see? So are we!

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