The Armenian EyeCare Project has been conducting regular eye screenings in schools across Armenia since 2004 as part of our ongoing mission to eliminate preventable blindness and provide access to quality eye care for all residents in the country. Visiting schools in regions throughout the country, we have screened nearly 175,000 schoolchildren in Armenia and conducted public education lessons for over 15,000 students.
Recently the AECP, working with Children’s Hospital L.A., has launched a larger-scale School Screening Program, which will use innovative technology to detect common eye diseases found among children in Armenia. Screenings in schools are essential for the early detection and prevention of eye disorders among children in Armenia. For many eye diseases, time is critical and detecting a condition early can be crucial in saving a child from severe vision impairment and possible blindness.
As children get screened in schools across Armenia, the EyeCare Project will collect and provide information on the primary eye disorders found among these children to detect and possibly prevent these diseases in the future. Since launching this extended program in late 2018, over 10,000 schoolchildren have already been screened, of which over 2,000 have been referred to specialty eye clinics for more detailed examinations and possible treatment.
Because of this program, children who would otherwise go without regular eye check-ups are being screened and treated for eye conditions some do not even realize they have like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Nare Nazaryan is one of these children. Nare never expressed an issue with her sight and her parents never noticed a problem either. But a recent eye screening revealed that the young girl showed signs of nearsightedness and was in need of prescription glasses. “My daughter has never worn eyeglasses and we never knew she needed them,” Nare’s mother said. “We are so thankful that you shed light upon her vision problem. If it weren’t for your attentive care, we would have never noticed.”
Nare is just one happy ending. Through this extended School Screening Program, the AECP intends to screen every school-aged child in Armenia in hopes of detecting eye disease early on and preventing it in the future. With cutting-edge equipment, highly trained staff and the invaluable support from our donors, Armenia is evolving into a country where preventative care is being practiced and is a priority.