MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (KGO) --An unusual airplane made a stop at Moffett Field Monday -- one that's mission is to prevent blindness around the world.
Pilot Gary Dyson flies MD-10s every day from Anchorage to China. "But this airplane's been modified. Instead of cargo, it has a hospital in the back," he said.
With a brand new, high-tech operating room. "This operating theater that we're standing in matches all current U.S. standards," Orbis Global Medical Director Jonathan Lord said.
From sterilizing tools, to sanitizing hands, it's accredited as a United States hospital.
But the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital spends most of its time in countries that don't have facilities like these, treating patients for problems like cataracts. "280 million people are either blind or have avoidable low vision, with 80 percent of those that's treatable," Lord said.
But beyond performing surgeries, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital has another important purpose. Perhaps its greatest mission is teaching. "It's the only flying teaching hospital in the world," Lord said.
Doctors can learn from cataract surgery experts and practice on a simulator.
The front of the plane is a classroom where the standard equipment includes glasses to watch surgeries in 3D.
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital runs on donations from the aircraft maintenance right down to the teddy bears in the recovery room.
It's in Silicon Valley looking for new sponsors and new technology. Then, it's off to travel the world again. "It's an adventure every time because you don't know what you're going to find when you go to different countries," Orbis Chief Ophthalmologist Antionio Jaramillo said.