In August 2012, AUA’s Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (Meghrigian Institute) of the College of Health Sciences launched the project aimed at reducing the incidence of avoidable blindness and visual impairment among socio-economically disadvantaged population in Kashatagh province of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).
Kashatagh is one of the eight provinces of Artsakh and the largest by area. The living conditions and the situation in the health sector in Kashatagh are among the harshest. Meghrigian Institute conducted free eye screenings for the residents of Berdzor and Kovsakan towns, as well as Msheni, Moshatagh, Aygehovit, Urekan, Mirik, Hochants, Qaregah, Getap, Martunashen, Yericvanq, Mijnavan, Alashkert, and Ishkhanadzor villages. Overall, 161 patients received eye screening in Kashatagh; 10 of them had diabetes. Diabetes patients received educational brochures developed by Meghrigian Institute to increase their awareness about diabetes management and prevention of diabetic retinopathy. All patients diagnosed with eye pathologies received free ophthalmic consultation about their diagnosis and further treatment. Those who had any type of refractive errors or presbyopia (106 people) received prescriptions for eye glasses and free eye frames from Meghrigian Institute.
Meghrigian Institute plans to expand the project into other regions of Artsakh in the near future and start screenings among school-age children in Kashatagh.