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Eye Disease

Arshaluis’s Story

Arshaluis Nerkarayan was just one month old when his parents, Gayaneh Matevosyan and Arthur Nerkararyan, were told that he had a congenital cataract in both eyes and could not see. Gayaneh and Arthur immediately decided that they would do everything in their power to help their son lead a normal life.

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2010 – Blindness by gender:
55% Female, 34% Male

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Myth: An eye examination is necessary only if you are having eye problems.

Fact: Everyone should follow proper eye care, including regular eye exams, whether or not you're having any noticeable signs of problems. For adults, the frequency depends on your doctor's advice and may be every two years or more often. If you have diabetes or an eye disease, you should have a comprehensive eye exam every year.

Myth: People with blue eyes see better than people with brown eyes.

Fact: The iris color has no link with the visual sharpness.

Myth: Using a computer, or video display terminal (VDT), is harmful to the eyes.

Fact: Using a VDT may strain or tire your eyes, but it is not harmful. You can get special glasses to wear at the computer to help alleviate eye strain.

Lilit Mkrtchyan, M.D.

Born into a family of physicians, Mkrtchyan describes herself as a hereditary doctor. Her father, Gevorg, is an abdominal surgeon, mother, Ivetta, is an ophthalmologist, and older sister, Nune, is a pediatrician.

“I grew up in an atmosphere of concern for patients, discussing treatment and medical issues [with my family],” she says. “My decision to become a doctor, I think, was a logical and emotional outcome of these circumstances.”

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82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above.

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Cataracts

As the population begins to age and life expectancy increases, it is imperative that Armenia address cataract surgical coverage. Today, approximately 91,000 Armenians — or 30 percent of the population — aged 65 and over have cataracts in one or both eyes, causing partial or complete blindness. By 2050, that number will more than double – leading to roughly 221,200 Armenians affected. Because cataract surgery is so limited in Armenia – just 24 percent coverage – most people (the remaining 76 percent) go without care, leaving thousands visually disabled. In the United States people accept cataract surgery as a part of aging and is a very common procedure. Sadly, in Armenia, many people accept blindness as a part of growing older because they have no access to cataract surgery.

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