“What you did for my child was priceless… it has transformed our lives.”
After 20 years of marriage and trying to start a family, Khachik and Neli Markosyan were twice-blessed when they brought two beautiful children — twins — into the world.
The babies were born prematurely at seven months and shortly after their birth the Markosyans discovered that one of their children, Liana, had problems with her vision. Liana was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a devastating eye disease found in premature infants that quickly leads to blindness if not treated. Without rapid intervention the Markosyans’ beautiful baby daughter would go blind.
In 2010, the Armenian EyeCare Project, in partnership with USAID, developed a ROP Program and two years later established the AECP Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Infant and Childhood Blindness in Yerevan. The Center was developed to advance quality eye care for infants and children in Armenia and to eliminate preventable blindness caused by Retinopathy of Prematurity and other eye diseases and disorders found in children.
Until the EyeCare Project implemented their ROP Program babies all over Armenia were going blind from ROP, an eye disease Armenian physicians knew nothing about and were unable to diagnose and treat. Those physicians who were aware of the disease sent their patients to Russia for treatment, but most families could not afford the cost. “International travel was not an option for us,” said Liana’s mother.
“Without sight there was no future for my daughter,” added Liana’s father. Fortunately, Liana’s parents learned about the Armenian EyeCare Project’s Center of Excellence and their prayers were answered. After three surgeries Liana’s sight was restored and she was no longer facing a lifetime of blindness. “As a mother, I can see that everything is normal now,” said Liana’s mother. “We have hope.” And her father was overjoyed — “She can see clearly now. She has a bright future.”
With her eyesight restored Liana is now able to play with her twin brother and run happily through her family’s garden, something she enjoys doing very much.
Since our ROP Program was launched in Armenia, the EyeCare Project has treated thousands of infants and children in Armenia saving them from blindness.
“Since the Center opened in 2010, we have seen unbelievable results,” said Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Health Sergey Khachatryan. “Now we have families from Russia and other countries bringing their children to Armenia for treatment. I’m very grateful for this program.”
“Thanks to the EyeCare Project, we have all the necessary diagnostic tools to quickly catch the disease at an early stage,” said Dr. Nune Yerkanyan, who works as a physician at the AECP’s Center of Excellence. “Thank you to the EyeCare Project for training us and providing the tools we need to be self-sufficient.”
Of course, those who are most thankful for our program are the parents of the babies in Armenia who have been saved from blindness, which includes Liana’s parents. “What you did for my child was priceless,” said Liana’s mother. “It’s hard to put into words… it has transformed our lives.” Her father added, “You gave our child a new life. Thank you so much.”