The Revolutionary Way We’re Saving Sight
Our telemedicine program began because of an incredible need to help the thousands of babies in Armenia who were at risk of going blind because doctors in the country didn’t have the training nor the equipment to diagnose and treat terrible eye diseases affecting infants and children.
With high-end technology that links surgeons in Armenia to expert physicians abroad in real-time, Armenian ophthalmologists now have the ability, skills and knowledge to deliver quality eye care to the tiniest members of Armenia’s population. Cameras attached to surgical equipment in Armenia send clear audio and high-resolution video to the most qualified eye specialists in the world — like pediatric retina surgeons Dr. Thomas Lee of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in California and Dr. Chien Wong of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London – who then watch the procedure as it happens all the way from their offices abroad.
“These are technologies that seem futuristic, but they’re here now and we’re using them in the real world, in Armenia, to help these patients,” Dr. John Hovanesian, a U.S. ophthalmologist who’s been working with the AECP for over 20 years, said.
Through this invaluable remote assistance and support from some of the most skilled experts in the eye care industry, Armenia’s physicians are given the tools they need to perform advanced procedures on infants with confidence and children in Armenia are able to get the care they deserve, and their sight saved, without having to leave the country.
“Not only are we able to tell the parents about the problem,” Dr. Tadevos Hovhannisyan, who performs these complex surgeries in Armenia, said. “But we can also tell them that we can help.”
In fact, ophthalmologists in Armenia’s capital have become so skilled through the training and mentoring that comes with telemedicine that they are now able to contribute to the program — training their peers in the various regions throughout Armenia.
Because of its remarkable success in Yerevan, our telemedicine program will also be implemented in the five Regional Eye Clinics we are currently developing throughout Armenia. All five clinics — in Ijevan, Tavush; Spitak, Lori; Kapan, Syunik; Gyumri, Shirak; and Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor — will be connected to Yerevan and the U.S. via telemedicine.
“The expertise that has developed in Yerevan can now be used to train the different regions that don’t have that level of expertise and replicate that same level of success,” Dr. Lee said.
By expanding our telemedicine program to include regional ophthalmologists, we will ensure that even Armenians living in remote regions have the opportunity to receive the highest quality of care and that ophthalmologists in those regions are well-trained and offered assistance with their most complex cases.
With the cutting-edge advancements of telemedicine, the possibilities of offering quality care to developing countries like Armenia are endless.
“You couldn’t have better equipment anywhere else in the world,” Dr. Wong said. “So I think we’re very fortunate and it’s because of the support that we have through the donations that has really made all this possible.”
Because of your support, Armenia has become a prime example of how a developing country can make quality care accessible to its people. Your donations not only help to ensure that all Armenians get the medical care they deserve — but they also allow our telemedicine program to become a model for other countries in need.