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New Virtual Training Takes on Mongolia's Leading Cause of Blindness

·5 min read

Led by eye care nonprofit Orbis with support from OMEGA, the training will deepen nurses' proficiency in cataract treatment

NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Orbis International, with generous support from OMEGA, launched a new virtual Flying Eye Hospital project that will train ophthalmic nurses across Mongolia on cataract treatment. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the country.

The six-week virtual Flying Eye Hospital project will enable participating nurses to deepen their proficiency in cataract examinations and surgeries, communicating effectively with patients and infection control. Training will be carried out through live lectures, which will be led by Orbis's Volunteer Faculty (medical experts) and delivered in English with consecutive Mongolian translation.

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA says, "It's a great honour to support Orbis in their incredible work around the world. We especially know how important their training programmes can be, and since our partnership began in 2011, we've seen the truly positive impact these projects can have. For this latest virtual training in Mongolia, we particularly admire the dedication and innovation involved, and wish all the nurses the very best in building on their expertise."

Access to quality cataract treatment remains a major challenge in Mongolia, particularly in rural areas; nine out of ten cataract surgeries are performed in the urban center of Ulaanbaatar, the capital. Moreover, Mongolia has one of the lowest rates of cataract surgery per capita in all of Asia. It is estimated that only 56 percent of patients who need cataract surgery have received it, and visual outcomes remain below international standards for those who do.

Empowering and supporting all local practitioners, in both rural and urban areas, is critical for ensuring that patients get the best possible care and a meaningful step in democratizing and strengthening eye care systems. That is why Orbis is committed to training nurses and other eye care professionals, in addition to ophthalmologists. Evidence shows that well-trained nurses play a critical role not just in preventing complications during surgery, but also in ensuring positive outcomes for patients overall. Nurses are often patients' first line of contact for understanding the procedure they are about to undergo as well as follow-up care.

"For many of us, it's hard to imagine losing our sight because we couldn't get cataract surgery, but that's a reality for too many people around the world where eye care remains hard to come by," said Derek Hodkey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orbis International. "One of the best ways to address this is by ensuring that every member of the eye care teams in these areas can access quality training – which we're doing thanks to the support of partners like OMEGA."

The Swiss watchmaker OMEGA has been a proud supporter of Orbis since 2011, when it became a Global Corporate Partner. Through avid support of the Flying Eye Hospital, OMEGA has helped Orbis in its mission to mentor, train and inspire local teams so they can save sight in their communities. OMEGA also works in cooperation with its brand ambassadors – including Daniel Craig, Cindy Crawford and others – to increase awareness of Orbis and its mission. Craig and Crawford participated in Orbis programming in Mongolia and Peru, respectively, witnessing firsthand the life-changing work of Orbis. Additionally, OMEGA provides cuddly teddy bears to all young patients undergoing treatment and also donates a portion of proceeds from specially dedicated Orbis watches to Orbis and the Flying Eye Hospital. Now as the Exclusive Title Sponsor of the newly launched virtual Flying Eye Hospital project, OMEGA is continuing to play a vital role in preventing avoidable blindness around the world.

Orbis's Flying Eye Hospital is the world's only fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft. For nearly four decades, the Flying Eye Hospital has traveled the world delivering best-in-class training for eye care professionals in areas with the greatest need. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Orbis reimagined its Flying Eye Hospital trainings as virtual ones in 2020 to ensure that eye care teams could still access critical training safely during the pandemic. Last year, Orbis's virtual Flying Eye Hospital projects had over 850 enrollments by participants from nine countries. Orbis expects to reach 20 countries through its virtual Flying Eye Hospital projects this year.

About Orbis

Orbis is a leading global non-governmental organization that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for nearly four decades. Orbis transforms lives by delivering the skills, resources and knowledge needed to deliver accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners, including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas. Orbis operates the world's only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft, and an award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight. For the past ten consecutive years, Orbis has achieved Charity Navigator's coveted four-star rating for demonstrating strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency, placing Orbis in the top 3% of U.S. charities. In 2021, Orbis earned GuideStar's platinum Seal of Transparency. To learn more, please visit orbis.org.


OMEGA is a prestigious Swiss watchmaker and member of the Swatch Group Ltd. Since 1848, the brand has been synonymous with excellence, innovation and precision, as well as a pioneering spirit, demonstrated by conquests of the oceans and space. In fact, since 1965, the OMEGA Speedmaster has been worn on each of NASA's manned missions including all six moon landings. As well as this, no brand is more actively involved in sports timekeeping. In addition to partnerships in golf, sailing, athletics and swimming, OMEGA has served as the Official Timekeeper at 29 Olympic Games. Most importantly, OMEGA has a tradition of excellence in watchmaking. This reputation was reinforced in 2015 with the introduction of METAS-approved Master Chronometer certification, representing the Swiss industry's highest standard of precision, magnetic resistance and performance.

Orbis International
Kristin Taylor
Director, Global Communications and Marketing

OMEGA International Press Office


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SOURCE Orbis International