Technology and Innovative

With global blindness set to reach 60 million by 2050, we need to reverse the trend before it’s too late. The old way simply isn’t working. We need to keep pushing boundaries and lead from the front of eye health innovation now, if we’re going to help ensure a brighter tomorrow.

New data shows the number of people living with blindness is set to reach 60 million by 2050. Even though efforts from across the eye health sector have led to a decrease in the prevalence of blindness, global trends such as an ageing population, general population growth and the rise of diseases such as diabetes means we are facing a new blindness crisis.

At Orbis we know the only way to counter this new threat is to collaborate with partners to pioneer the latest in cutting-edge technology. We believe this is the best way to enable us to share critical skills and knowledge with more eye teams around the world, and ultimately, help us reach more people who are needlessly blind - more efficiently - than ever before.

A Cybersight live video consultation

Dr. Dan Neely discusses a case with Dr. Wael Hamoudeh in Syria

Our innovative approach is proven to be effective. By strengthening local healthcare systems and supporting the next generation of eye heroes to build their skills and knowledge, we can prevent more people from going needlessly blind.

As Dr. Dan Neely, professor of Ophthalmology University of Indiana, and medical advisor for Orbis puts it "You can only send people and equipment to so many places, but you can go everywhere, an unlimited number of times, with technology. That is the power and force-multiplier that technology provides us.

The global eye health community – including Orbis and our incredible network of volunteers and partners – has been making great progress in the fight against avoidable blindness. But with experts predicting global blindness will reach 60 million by 2050, the latest technology and innovation is a crucial sight-saving tool.

INNOVATING TO FIGHT BLINDNESS

For almost 40 years the cornerstone of our work has been to train eye teams in order to improve the quality of care available around the world. Our incredible volunteer network of world-leading medical experts are the best in the business - and by harnessing the latest internet and mobile technologies we can maximize their impact.

Here are a few of the ways we're using technology to fight the global blindness crisis.

CYBERSIGHT

Through our award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight, we can make an impact in places where a physical presence simply isn't possible due to cost, logistics or security.

With advanced online training tools and access to international experts and trainers, Cybersight helps eye health professionals – regardless of where they are located – to improve skills, collaborate on diagnosis and treatment of patients, and connect with a truly global community of practice that includes technicians, nurses, optometrists and ophthalmologists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cybersight has become more important than ever before – 26,000 eye heroes received training via our online platform, with Cybersight clocking up 2.3 million video views in 2020 alone, demonstrating the incredible commitment of our partners and volunteers to improving patient care and saving sight all over the world.

Cybersight is our award winning telemedicine platform

FLYING EYE HOSPITAL

Our Flying Eye Hospital is not only packed with the latest medical equipment, it has some of the very latest training facilities too. The entire plane is linked up through an advanced audio visual system, meaning those in the classroom can watch surgeries happening in the operating theater live in 3D - making it as close to the real thing as looking down the microscope yourself.

CNBC visit the Flying Eye Hospital in 2017

SIMULATION CENTER

Thanks to the generous support of Collins Aerospace we have created a brand new simulation center and training program which combines the latest in simulation technology, virtual reality, and scientific, surgical and medical knowledge.

The simulation center on board the Flying Eye Hospital allows local eye teams to learn complex skills in a controlled environment before operating on patients. It breaks down a complex surgery into smaller parts allowing local doctors to focus on a certain skill — something you can’t do with a human eye.

Trainee working on Eye training dummy.

We use state-of-the-art simulation technology to increase opportunities for local doctors

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

A new artificial intelligence tool on our Cybersight platform can detect common eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, in seconds by examining digital photographs of the back of the eye. This is game-changing for increasing access to early detection, which is critical to prevent treatable eye conditions from leading to vision loss.

Further refinements will be made to increase the accuracy of the technology and the number of conditions this incredible tool can detect.

Our AI system analyzes images of the back of the eye taken with any standard retina camera or even mobile phones

BOOST APP

BOOST (Better Operative Outcomes Software Tool) is a simple, free and user-friendly app designed to help monitor and improve cataract surgical outcomes. Developed in partnership with leading players in the eye care sector, the app takes eye care professionals through a step-by-step process to measure and analyze results by providing access to data in similar cases and making suggestions to correct issues and identify risks.

The app followed a discovery which showed that testing vision immediately after an operation is a good way of measuring the quality of the surgery.

You can only send people and equipment to so many places, but you can go everywhere, an unlimited number of times, with technology. That is the power and force-multiplier that technology provides us.

Dr. Dan Neely

Professor of Ophthalmology University of Indiana, and Orbis Volunteer Faculty

VIRTUAL REALITY

We use Virtual Reality headsets to demonstrate surgical procedures in 3D, more closely replicating what a surgeon actually sees looking through the operating microscope. Surgical demonstrations on the Flying Eye Hospital are made available in the Cybersight library in 2D and 3D. The 3D versions can be viewed anywhere in the world using a smartphone and a VR headset, or even a simple cardboard viewer.

A local partner using virtual reality goggles for eye health training

Surgeries can be watched in Virtual Reality from anywhere in the world

We’d like to say a big thank you to our supporters and partners, it is due to their commitment that we're able to look for new ways to use technology to fight blindness in communities around the world.

Only by innovating will we be able to confront the blindness epidemic on the horizon.

Help us reach more people than ever before

Donate today