The world's only airborne eye hospital is on a return visit to Ireland after ten years.

The Flying Eye Hospital is funded by the international charity Orbis and has been helping eliminate the eye disease trachoma across the southern regions of Ethiopia.

It has an operating theatre and 3D technology to help train doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to treat people and restore their sight.

Chairman of Orbis Ireland Dr Maurice Cox said 2.2 million people have been treated by the service to date.

The service has particularly focused on treating trachoma, a highly contagious, painful and preventable eye disease, which is seen widely in regions of southern Ethiopia where 75 million people are at risk.

Left untreated, it can cause profound disability and a lifetime of dependence.

Over the past decade, Irish people have contributed over €4.3 million in providing eye care under the Flying Eye Hospital service.

The Orbis plane at Dublin Airport replaced the one that last visited in 2007 and is a specially designed and newly converted MD-10 aircraft.

By 2019, the facility hopes to conduct 17,000 eye surgeries, as well as over 4,000 training sessions for eye care teams.

It will also help health staff prescribe over 6,000 pairs of glasses.

The plane combines the latest in avionics and hospital engineering and has broadcast facilities so that live operations in the theatre can be shown on board to health staff in the front section.

Fully booked tours of the plane will be held over the next four days at Dublin Airport, with the support of CityJet, before it leaves to continue its mission.