Public education and outreach is a key component of the EyeCare Project’s strategy to eliminate preventable blindness in Armenia. Using a multi-media-driven, community-based and country-wide public education and awareness approach, our goal is to change behaviors and attitudes about eye care and to deliver information to all residents throughout Armenia. This includes educating the general population and targeting vulnerable groups such as infants and children, those with diabetes and older citizens.
Eighty percent of all eye diseases and disorders are preventable or treatable if identified early. The EyeCare Project, through country-wide media campaigns, which include radio and television public service announcements (PSAs), community events and school visits, works to inform Armenians about the importance of eye health and the steps they can take to ensure they have healthy vision and identify problems before they affect their vision.
With a focus on prevention and early intervention, our public education initiative includes providing information on identifying infant’s and children’s eye disorders, which require rapid treatment. Also, information about preventing injuries to the eye — the proper eye protection will lessen the severity or prevent 90% of all accidental eye injuries. We also target students, teachers and parents — 50% of children with learning difficulties have vision disorders.
Through our public education efforts, the Armenian EyeCare Project has distributed more than 800,000 educational materials on eye care including books, booklets and brochures; produced hundreds of TV and radio PSAs for Armenia’s general population; and arranged local community events, including visits to over 400 public schools and other educational institutions.
Additionally, in 2017, the Armenian EyeCare Project wrote and published a children’s activity book on eye health, “Desunik’s Game of Sight.” The book, intended for elementary school children, has been distributed to public schools across Armenia and was written to give students a basic understanding of the eye, how it works and how to take care of their eyes.
The EyeCare Project also actively participates in international public awareness campaigns on eye care, including World Sight Day, an annual day of awareness put together by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. Every October, in honor of World Sight Day, the EyeCare Project organizes educational activities across Armenia, from free eye examinations to public education booths to field trips for students to eye care facilities and more.
All of the Project’s public education efforts are dedicated to expanding knowledge about eye care and promoting healthy behaviors among the country’s three million citizens.