Celebrating World Sight Day (WSD) 2019, the Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (Meghrigian Institute) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) launched an eye screening program for socially disadvantaged children and children with motor or mental disorders. The program aimed to decrease visual impairment among the target population through provision of comprehensive ophthalmic examination and distribution of spectacles and medication to those in need.
WSD is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, WSD was celebrated on October 10, 2019 and the call to action was “Vision First.” More than a billion people worldwide have visual problems because of having limited access to ophthalmic glasses.
In September, the staff of the Meghrigian Institute visited the Gavar Children’s Home in Gegharkunik province of Armenia, Special School N17 for children with motor disorders and Special School N11 for children with mental health issues in Yerevan. Fifty-four out of 55 children in the Gavar Children’s Home, 39 out of 60 children in N17 special school and 61 out of 80 children in N 11 special school were able to participate in detailed eye screenings. Overall, 154 children from the target population and 26 family members of those children were screened. Twenty-five children diagnosed with refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism will receive spectacles from the Meghrigian Institute in November. Children who had eye conditions that needed hospital care were referred to specialized centers for more 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.