Program Started to Treat Epidemic
Until 2010, Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) was a huge problem in Armenia. The eye disease, which is only found in premature infants and can lead to blindness if left untreated, was growing at a rapid rate in the country — leaving many babies blind and doctors clueless as to what to do.
Then, in 2010, the Armenian EyeCare Project began a program to treat this growing epidemic in Armenia and save thousands of babies from blindness.
Ophthalmologists from abroad traveled to the country to train physicians to diagnose ROP and treat it at the onset. In a year’s time, Armenian doctors were performing at the same level, if not better, than doctors in the U.S.
Our ROP program has been such a success in Armenia that it has since expanded into a full-fledged, state-of-the-art facility — the Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness in Yerevan.
With an entire floor inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) dedicated to preventing childhood blindness, the Center of Excellence is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including the latest surgical equipment and a well-qualified surgical staff who have been trained by some of the best ophthalmologists in the world.
“In the past, these children with retinopathy would go blind,” Serine Meliksetyan, a physician at the Center, said. “But now we are able to help these children.”
Thanks to the Center of Excellence, childhood blindness in Armenia is being prevented — one tiny patient at a time.