“My soul is glowing because my grandchild can see…”
Anna is six years old and loves to sing and play. But in 2013, soon after Anna was born, her family noticed white spots in her eyes. Anna was diagnosed with childhood cataracts. Without surgery she go blind.
“I was terrified,” Anna’s grandmother said. Anna’s family earned their living farming but their income was not enough to cover the cost of Anna’s surgery. Anna’s mother even tried to find work around her village to raise the money needed, but there were no employment opportunities in her small town.
Anna’s family was hopeless and didn’t know where to turn. Then they learned of the Armenian EyeCare Project and our Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness in Yerevan. Together with USAID, we established our Center of Excellence in 2012 to advance eye care for infants and children in Armenia and to eliminate preventable blindness caused by childhood eye diseases.
A state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge medical equipment and operating facilities, our Center of Excellence has treated thousands of infants and children in Armenia and saved the sight of over 200 babies through surgery. With some of the world’s top pediatric ophthalmologists visiting the facility regularly to offer guidance and medical training to local staff, results have been overwhelming and local doctors are now able to perform these complex surgeries themselves and offer quality care to their patients directly.
“It’s wonderful to be able to tell parents that we can cure your child’s blindness,” Nune Yerkanyan, a physician at the Center of Excellence, says.
At just four months old, Anna received her first procedure at the Center of Excellence. Three years later, when Anna was older and able to receive a more comprehensive surgery, she received her second procedure – all at no cost to her family. Best yet, because of these treatments, Anna has been saved from a life of blindness.
Anna’s family says the results have been wonderful and that even Anna has noticed the difference in her sight. “She would announce it to everyone – ‘I can see now!’” her grandmother says.
Anna’s recent restoration of sight has even affected the child’s temperament. Anna now attends kindergarten and actively interacts with other children. And she is much more calm than before.
“My soul is glowing because my grandchild can see,” Anna’s grandmother says with tears in her eyes. “I’m very happy.”
“We are extremely grateful,” Anna’s mother adds. She knows her daughter would not be in the same position if it had not been for the EyeCare Project and its supporters. “It was all because of the donors,” she says with gratitude. Because of you, Anna has been given the gift of sight.