On October 9, 2008 the Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology at the Center for Health Service Research and Development of the American University of Armenia joined the celebration of World Sight Day. This international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October to concentrate attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment, focuses on vision impairment in older people this year. With the aging population, blindness from chronic conditions is rising; these same trends are observed in Armenia.
The Garo Meghrigian Institute aims at eliminating avoidable blindness in Armenia and is an active supporter of the World Health Organization’s Vision 2020 initiative.
This year the Meghrigian Institute celebrated World Sight Day with the Yerevan Municipality Evening Boarding School for Blind and Visually Impaired Adults. On October 9 and 10, 2008, the Meghrigian Institute’s ophthalmic consultants provided detailed eye screening for 137 attendees (age range 16-60) of the boarding school. All visually impaired people in need (38 attendees) received prescribed eye glasses.
The Meghrigian Institute has also donated to the Boarding School a computer with a scanner, printer, headphones, and speakers; “Arev” software is installed on this computer. “Arev” software allows blind people to read books and use the internet in Armenian, Russian or English languages without assistance. Through the scanner the desired text is imported into the computer, letter images are converted into voice and the user can listen the text. With this software blind people can also compose music or play chess improving their quality of life. The Meghrigian Institute currently supports the training of two representatives of the Boarding School in using “Arev” software.