While eyes and vision rank among the most important health issues in children, few children in Armenia begin school with an eye exam. So many of the “simple,” preventative measures-that we take for granted in in America are almost unheard of in Armenia. Adopting a school in Armenia to provide eye screenings and education is one of the most important things our donors are doing for the country and for each individual child and their family. With approximately 500,000 children in Armenian schools, the AECP Child Blindness Initiative can help Armenia achieve its goal of full eye care coverage of school age children through eye screenings to detect refractive errors and to provide prescription eyeglasses for those in need within five years.
Myth: If you wear glasses, not wearing them will cause your vision to deteriorate faster.
Fact: The immediate side effect of not wearing glasses if you need them is the equivalent of going to an art gallery tour without bothering to get a ticket.
Myth: Wearing contacts prevents nearsightedness from getting worse.
Fact: Wearing contact lenses will not permanently correct nearsightedness. Myopia or nearsightedness is usually an inherited condition, and contact lenses can only be expected to improve vision. They cannot prevent nearsightedness from getting worse.
Myth: Holding a book too close is harmful to your eyes.
Fact: Children and adults who are nearsighted might need to get closer to a book. Doing so does not cause or worsen nearsightedness or any other kinds of eye problem.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a devastating disease that affects infants born prematurely and leads to blindness in a matter of weeks. Up to 60% of infants born at less than 30 weeks gestation develop some form of the disease and AECP physicians found that 30% of all premature infants will progress to the advanced form. If left untreated, the advanced form of ROP causes rapid and irreversible blindness due to retinal scarring and detachment. Serial examinations of infants at risk for the disease and the timely application of laser treatments, however, leads to complete regression of the disease in up to 90% of patients. The enormous economic and social burden of lifelong blindness makes the treatment of this disease profoundly important.
To expand ophthalmology coverage and to meet the eye care needs of the Armenian people in the regions outside of Yerevan, the EyeCare Project has embarked on its biggest project ever — “Five for Five” — to bring accessible, quality eye care to all of the people of Armenia. At the request of the Minister of Health, the EyeCare Project will take the lead, in partnership with the Armenian Health Ministry and the Malayan Eye Hospital, to build fie Regional Eye Clinics throughout Armenia. The cost of the project is approximately five million over a period of five years — five clinics for five million.