ARMAVIR, Armenia ‒ In June 2018, Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (Meghrigian Institute) of the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Turpanjian School of Public Health completed the eye screening program among patients with diabetes living in Armavir province of Armenia. The primary aim of this program was to provide free ophthalmic examination to patients with diabetes, who have low access to ophthalmic services, and to distribute spectacles as needed. The secondary aim was to increase the awareness about diabetes management and diabetic retinopathy prevention among the target population through dissemination of educational materials.
The staff of the Meghrigian Institute visited three major cities of Armavir province, namely Echmiadzin, Armavir, and Metsamor, and their adjacent villages, Nalbandyan, Parakar, Aghavnatun, Geghakert, Gay, Arevik, Armavir, and Aragats, from October 2017 to June 2018. A total of 838 patients with diabetes and 78 patients from the general population with low access to ophthalmic services were screened. Patients who were diagnosed with some type of refractive errors or presbyopia received spectacles from the Meghrigian Institute and those who were diagnosed with conditions that need hospital care were referred to the nearest hospital for further treatment. Overall, 870 spectacles were distributed for free to the participants in need and over 2,000 educational materials on diabetes management and diabetic retinopathy prevention were delivered among patients with diabetes and the general population. Meghrigian Institute will continue this program visiting other provinces of Armenia in the coming years.
The AUA Gerald and Patricia 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.