Yerevan, Armenia (12.10.2006) – Established in 1999, the Garo Meghrigian Eye Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (GMEIPO), located at the Center for Health Service Research and Development of the American University of Armenia, aims to eliminate avoidable blindness in Armenia. The GMEPO team joined the worldwide advocacy campaign and celebration of World Sight Day in Armenia on October 12. The celebrations occurred at the Boarding School for Visually Impaired Children in Yerevan (BSVIC), the only educational facility of its type in Armenia.
The theme of this year’s World Sight Day (WSD) was Low Vision and Refractive Error, highlighting the fact that millions are functionally blind due to uncorrected refractive error. While most of these cases cannot be prevented or cured medically, much can be done to improve patients’ quality of life and prevent effective blindness.
According to Naira Khachatryan (Lecturer of Preventive Ophthalmology, College of Health Sciences, AUA), “On the 11th and 12th of October, 2006, GMEIPO organized detailed eye screening of 108 students of BSVIC. All children in need were provided with prescribed eyeglasses of high quality, as well as with recommendations for further treatment/rehabilitation. We also donated 500 writing books for blind children to support the teaching process at the School. In order to improve preventive/regular eye care, our team donated equipment and other supplies to the eye care facilities at the BSVIC, and offered training to ophthalmic personnel.”
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 37 million people worldwide are blind and an additional 124 million have vision impairment. Childhood blindness is a significant problem, with an estimated 1.4 million blind children below 15 years old. In order to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment, World Sight Day is celebrated on the second Thursday of October each year.