The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and Orbis UK have reaffirmed their partnership, where  donations of  cabin interior equipment and décor from AIX exhibitors will play a role for the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

    The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital takes training to eye care professionals around the globe, empowering them to fight avoidable blindness in their communities.

    As the official charity partner of Aircraft Interiors Expo, the work of Orbis UK is bolstered by  donations from cabin interior suppliers.

    With its network of partners, Orbis trains and mentors entire local eye care teams – from health workers in rural clinics to eye surgeons in urban centres – in low- and middle-income countries. Orbis does this through long-term, in-country programmes, its telemedicine platform, Cybersight, as well as on board the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

    The Flying Eye Hospital is a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board a customised MD-10 aircraft donated by FedEx.  On board, the hospital includes an operating theatre, recovery room and audio-visual equipment that transmits live surgeries to a 46-seat classroom at the front of the plane, as well as to over 200 countries and regions through Cybersight. The plane visits countries around the world, partnering with local hospitals to deliver specialist training, carry out treatments and raise vital awareness of the importance of eye health.

    Speaking about its involvement with Orbis, Sekisui Kydex COO and president, Ronn Cort, said: “We began working with Orbis back in 2012 through a partnership with Daniel Baron of Lift Strategic Design, a leading designer based in Tokyo, who was hired by Orbis. He was interested in using a leading-edge material that was evocative of blue skies on the interior of the plane to put patients at ease and make them more comfortable.

    “Corporate social responsibility is part of our culture and the Orbis mission chimed with that philosophy. We knew we wanted to be involved and it was the right thing to do. It was also an opportunity to be part of an innovative project, because instead of asking us for left-over material, Daniel saw our involvement as an opportunity to use materials that were only just making their debut in aircraft interior design.”

    Sekisui Kydex donated thermoplastic for two areas of the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital’s interior. The first was used in conjunction with lighting to help ‘bring the outside in’ and reduce the harshness of fluorescent lighting for patients. The second utilised Infused Imaging Technology for a branded panel in the main seating area.

    Orbis UK’s head of partnerships. Kathryn Sweet, said: “We welcome the support of the aviation industry for our vital work. Sadly, of the 253 million people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, 75 per cent have conditions that are preventable or treatable.”

    “Our Flying Eye Hospital transports teams of leading eye care specialists to low and middle income countries, where they share skills and techniques with local medical teams.

    “By partnering with Orbis UK, AIX exhibitors can be part of a global effort to support local communities in the fight against avoidable blindness.”