AUA’s Meghrigian Institute Provides Eye Care to Diabetics in Lori Province

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YEREVAN, Armenia — The American University of Armenia (AUA) Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (Meghrigian Institute) at the Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development of the Turpanjian College of Health Sciences performed eye screening to identify vision problems or other eye disorders among patients with diabetes in the Lori province of Armenia.

This long-established program was, in this round, implemented in Lori and aimed at reducing visual impairment in the target population by providing comprehensive ophthalmic examinations and distributing spectacles to those in need. Throughout the month of July 2023, the Meghrigian Institute’s qualified professionals conducted eye screening in the cities of Vanadzor, Alaverdi, and Stepanavan, as well as in the villages of Tumanayan, Odzun, and Vahagni of the Lori province of Armenia. Overall, the team screened 428 people aged 24 to 89: 387 individuals with diabetes integral to the project and an additional 41 non-diabetics beyond the project priority.

Following the screening, in September 2023, the Meghrigian Institute distributed 345 spectacles to people with diabetes who were identified as having uncorrected refractive errors and unaddressed presbyopia. The team also referred individuals identified with eye diseases needing further attention to specialized ophthalmic centers for appropriate advanced care.

Apart from the screenings, the Meghrigian Institute also provided participants with informative brochures and booklets about diabetes control, potential complications, including diabetic retinopathy, and strategies for prevention.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions worldwide and worsens over time if left untreated. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication of diabetes and one of the leading causes of vision loss. Globally, over four million people are blind due to diabetic retinopathy, and over 103 million people have diabetic retinopathy. In Armenia, it is estimated that about 270,000 individuals, 9% of the population, are affected by diabetes. Among them, approximately 90,000 have diabetic retinopathy, and 30,000 might be challenged with vision loss if left unattended.

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