media release

Eye Hospital Flying High

A flying eye hospital dedicated to combating unnecessary blindness around the globe has been coated by Akzo Nobel.

One of Akzo Nobel Aerospace Coatings’ more unusual customers—ORBIS International—is celebrating its third decade of operations in 2003.

Conceived back in 1982 as the brainchild of Houston eye specialist David Paton, ORBIS International is a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to combating and eradicating unnecessary blindness around the globe.

The centerpiece of the organization is the DC-10 flying eye hospital complete with classroom, laser/examination area, operating theater and recovery rooms.

A complete airborne training facility, the aircraft flies medical teams to the developing world to perform eye surgery on some of the 180 million blind people in poor regions who would normally have little chance of receiving treatment.

Recently, the ORBIS DC-10 was given a new livery in Air Canada’s Toronto hangar. Aerospace Coatings was highly honored to be part of this venture.

The aircraft was stripped and repainted using 10P20-44 primer and an Eclipse solids topcoat. The new ORBIS livery was rolled into the hangar to the cheers of ORBIS supporters and the flashbulbs of the assembled press.

ORBIS estimates that 80 percent of all blind or visually impaired people in the world can have their sight restored with the proper treatment. Besides the DC-10 flying eye hospital, ORBIS International also runs medical programs for the blind in China, India, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Since 1982, ORBIS has conducted nearly 360 training programs in 79 countries around the world. Nearly 42,000 healthcare professionals have been trained and ORBIS doctors have saved or restored the sight of nearly 22,000 people.

(Released: December 30, 2002)