Dr. Annette Giangiacomo Explains How She Provides Eye Care With Orbis' Flying Eye Hospital - Exclusive

When glaucoma is diagnosed early, it can be easily addressed, and permanent vision impairment can be prevented. However, when glaucoma isn't caught before it progresses, the condition can cause blindness. That's one of the many reasons why it's so important to see a qualified ophthalmologist at least once a year, according to ophthalmologist Annette Giangiacomo.

Unfortunately, billions of people around the world don't have access to regular eye care — and one billion of those people are dealing with vision impairment that could have been avoided if they were able to see an ophthalmologist. That's why Dr. Giangiacomo teamed up with Orbis' Flying Eye Hospital, a mobile eyecare facility housed in an MD-10 plane so that eye care can be brought directly to the people who need it.

In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, Dr. Giangiacomo explained how she and other eye care professionals provide care all over the world with the help of the Flying Eye Hospital.

How Orbis provides training and care

Dr. Annette Giangiacomo became a volunteer medical expert for Orbis in 2016. Since then, she has traveled to multiple countries — including Ghana, China, Cameroon, and Jamaica — to provide direct care to patients and train eye care professionals in local communities.

Dr. Giangiacomo explained that Orbis has a few different programs that ensure people who lack access to eye care can get the medical attention they need. To make sure continuous care is available where it's needed, Orbis works with elite ophthalmologists to provide ongoing training to eye care professionals on the ground in the countries they visit. Orbis facilitates this through in-person trainings like the ones Dr. Giangiacomo has conducted, but they also provide easily accessible online trainings through their platform, Cybersight. These online programs ensure that any eye care professional — anywhere in the world — can access ongoing education. 

Then, there's the Flying Eye Hospital, a world-class eye care facility that can be brought directly to patients all over the world.

How the Flying Eye Hospital works

Orbis' Flying Eye Hospital allows the Orbis volunteers to provide direct care to people who haven't been able to access eye care and train local doctors at the same time.

"Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft," Dr. Giangiacomo explained. "Packed with the latest medical equipment, the Flying Eye Hospital brings training from top medical experts to local teams so they can build the skills to fight blindness."

The Flying Eye Hospital has all the equipment the volunteers need to give eye exams, administer treatment, and even perform surgery. They work side by side with local professionals, teach them the most cutting-edge treatment techniques, and build lasting relationships that foster better patient care. Dr. Giangiacomo revealed that she's still in touch with many of the providers she's worked with in other countries and often offers her expertise on their cases.

"I'm proud to see how our work at Orbis has resulted in a community of supportive peers and innovative practices," she said. "The relationships we create between the volunteer faculty like myself and local clinicians are special and empower us to provide a higher quality of care to all of our patients."

Visit the Orbis website to make a sight-saving donation to support the children and adult patients that Orbis volunteers, including Dr. Annette, provide care to across the globe.