CLARK FREEPORT -- The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital on Monday landed in Clark International Airport (CRK) for a two-week eye care mission.

The mission, which will run from June 23 to July 4, is sponsored by FedEx Express, and includes an intensive training for technology transfer for ophthalmologists in Pampanga and other parts of Central Luzon.

Orbis executives coordinated with the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH) and the Central Luzon Society of Ophthalmology in a bid to deliver eye care services in the region by improving the skills of local ophthalmologists.

Dr. Ahmed Gomaa, medical director of Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, said they implemented various training programs in the Philippines to provide quality eye care services to Filipinos.

"We looked forward to visiting Pampanga and we are grateful to our longtime sponsor, FedEx, whose generous support has made it possible for Orbis to conduct programs all over the world. We are excited to continue working together to eliminate avoidable blindness and deliver the highest standards of training," Gomaa said.

He said that about 39 million people around the world are blind and in the Philippines alone, more than 3 million are visually impaired.

He said that 80 percent of the cases can be treated if patients received proper medical attention.

Some 24 hands-on trainees are undergoing a workshop inside the Orbis’ converted DC-10 parked at the Clark aviation complex.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that about 90 percent of the world’s visually-impaired people live in developing countries. Some 19 million children are visually impaired and the top three causes of low vision or blindness are refractive errors, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Orbis is a non-profit organization that works in developing countries to save sight worldwide. It prevents and treats blindness through hands-on training, public health education, improved access to quality eye care, advocacy, and partnerships with local health care organizations.

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital was in Pampanga in 2004 for a three-week medical mission.

Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) president Victor Jose Luciano lauded the efforts of FedEx and Orbis saying the mission is of great help to Filipinos.

Luciano vowed to provide assistance and support to the eye care program.

JBLMRH Director Dr. Yolanda L. Dee, Department of Health Central Luzon Director Leonita P. Gorgolon, University of the Philippines Chancellor Dr. Manny Agulto, and other medical doctors attended the opening ceremonies here yesterday.

Local officials present in the event include Pampanga Provincial Board Member Cherry Manalo, Mabalacat City Mayor Marino Morales, and Angeles City Vice-Mayor Vicky Vega Cabigting.