Last year, the Armenian EyeCare Project noticed an incredible need for cornea transplants among patients in Armenia. Because of this need, we began a special Cornea Transplant Program, asking donors to sponsor the surgery for those in Armenia who needed it — a cost of $800 for one procedure. So far, 55 Armenians have regained their sight through this program and there are 40 left on the waiting list. Below are the stories of three Armenians who have received cornea transplant surgery because of your generous support. Thank you to each donor who has contributed to this program. These Armenians have sight because of you.
Levon Muradyan, 60, Stepanavan
All his life, Levon has tried to help others in need. When he opened a small grocery shop in his town, he gave out free food to his poor neighbors. But Levon soon had to stop working because of problems with his vision.
Two years ago, Levon experienced inflammation in his left eye, which caused redness and itching. An ophthalmologist from his local polyclinic prescribed some medication, but his vision continued to deteriorate. When Levon visited Yerevan for a detailed eye exam, a pathologic process on cornea was detected and he was told that he would need cornea transplant surgery.
Levon couldn’t afford the cost of this procedure and he didn’t know what to do. Then, he learned of the AECP and our Cornea Transplant Program. A few months ago, Levon received cornea transplant surgery on his left eye. Now, he can see again.
“I am so pleased with the results,” Levon said. “My vision is returning!” Now, just as he helped his neighbors in his grocery shop, he asks us to spread the love as well.
“Please let everybody know about the work you do and the assistance you provide,” he says.”This has been the best part of my year.”
Armen Mkrtchyan, 29, Yerevan
Due to an accident, Armen has been experiencing vision problems since childhood. Sometime last year, he began to lose vision in his left eye.
“The only treatment that could be effective was corneal transplantation but unfortunately my family could not afford it,” Armen said solemnly. He and his family had already spent over $7,000 on treatment for his vision through the years and Armen even had a loan to cover medical expenses.
“The AECP is the last chance to restore my vision,” Armen said. Fortunately, Armen’s last chance was realized. He was able to receive the cornea transplant he needed thanks to the AECP. After a successful surgery, Armen says he feels a big difference.
“My vision restores day by day,” he says. “I feel it! It is a miracle when your vision is back.” Now, the young man can continue on with his life and start to focus on his dream: becoming a professional stylist.
“I am thankful to all the people who helped me,” Armen says. “They not only saved my vision, but my life also.”
Roza Grigoryan, 81, Yerevan
Roza has faced many difficulties as of late. First, it started with her vision problems — not being able to see or do much because of her limited sight. Then, her eldest son passed away and, soon after, her husband. Now, Roza lives alone, and because of her poor vision, she completely depends on her childrens’ and grandchildrens’ assistance.
When Roza learned that she needed cornea transplant surgery in order to fix her vision, she grew helpless knowing that she could not afford to pay for the procedure. “I was so afraid of missing the time window for operation and becoming totally blind,” she said.
Luckily, the AECP was able to sponsor Roza’s surgery through our Cornea Transplant Program. A few months ago, Roza received her surgery and she has had successful follow-ups since.
“Without the assistance of the AECP, I would have never undergone this treatment,” Roza says. “I am so grateful for my returned sight.”
For more stories on patients in Armenia who have received cornea transplants through our program, visit our other blogs here and here. If you are interested in contributing to the AECP’s Cornea Transplant Program and sponsoring a patient in Armenia to receive cornea transplant surgery, please contact us or donate.