Love Your Eyes: Meghrigian Institute Celebrates World Sight Day 2021

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YEREVAN, Armenia — Again this year, the American University of Armenia (AUA) celebrated World Sight Day 2021. The Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (Meghrigian Institute) of the AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH), assisted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, conducted vision screening of older age citizens living in retirement homes in Armenia. The screening was aimed at decreasing visual impairment among the target population through the provision of comprehensive ophthalmic examination, and distribution of spectacles and medication to those in need.

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.  This year World Sight Day was celebrated on October 14, and the call to action was “Love Your Eyes.” More than a billion people worldwide have visual problems because of having limited access to eye care services. The nationwide Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness survey conducted in Armenia among people aged over 50 reported that blindness prevalence was 1.5%, while severe/moderate visual impairment was 8.2%. About 54.6% of participants had uncorrected refractive errors and 35.5% had uncorrected presbyopia.

The staff of the Meghrigian Institute carried out eye screenings at the Nork retirement home and N1 retirement home in Yerevan, the nursing home in Vanadzor, and at the day care center of the Armenian Red Cross Society in Gyumri. Overall, the team screened 426 people aged 45 to 95. In October, 2021 the Meghrigian Institute distributed 364 spectacles to those who were diagnosed with refractive errors and provided medication to 142 people diagnosed with eye diseases. Those who had eye conditions needing hospital care were referred to specialized ophthalmic centers for appropriate advanced care.

The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.