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Armenian EyeCare Project’s recent achievementFirst ROP surgery in Yerevan without on-site assistance


The vitreo-retinal surgery that took place at the Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness (CEPCB), Yerevan, Armenia on July 29 2015, was groundbreaking. This was the first surgery performed without on-site participation of the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP) international surgeons. The entire process of the surgery was tele-mentored by Dr. Sui Chien Wong, pediatric retina surgeon from the Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free London Hospital, UK. He observed the surgery in real time mode and discussed the procedure details with Dr. Tadevos Hovhannisyan and other colleagues in the operating room through the use of innovative online monitoring systems. 

During the last year, the AECP surgical team, and specifically Drs. Tadevos Hovhannesyan and Hasmik Shahnazaryan, have undergone intensive training by Dr. Sui Chien Wong and Dr. Thomas Lee.  With this surgery they proved that are capable of performing ROP surgeries by themselves.  The Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness is becoming more sustainable.   This was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of many parties involved - the USAID, the Ministry of Health, AECP, international mentors, Armenian leading eye care hospitals. 

The little patient, Mayis Barbaryan was born premature and was diagnosed as Retinopathy of prematurity, stage 3-4, zone 1 with local tractional detachment by ROP screenings at CEPCB. Dr. Sui Chien Wong has performed Mayis’s first surgery when the baby boy was 8 weeks old. The urgency of the second surgery appeared because of the aggressive developments of Retinal detachment.

Mayis is doing well and the immediate danger of blindness is has subsided.   

In the framework of the USAID-AECP program, Dr. Sui Chein Wong visits Armenia on quarterly basis to lead ROP surgeries, which are tele-mentored by Dr. Thomas Lee, Director of the Retina Department at the Vision Center of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) and the AECP mentor of the CEPCB program. 
This kind of mentoring will continuously guarantee the enhancement of professional excellence of the Armenian team. In this context the achievement of this successful surgery by local doctors becomes more significant.

The CEPCB Program was initiated by the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP), in cooperation with the USAID and the Ministry of Health of Armenia in 2012 to provide specialized eye care to all children in Armenia and other countries and to eliminate childhood blindness from ROP.  This program is the logical continuation of the national “Prevention and Treatment of the Prematurity of Retinopathy” program that the AECP carries out since 2010. 

Each year up to 1000 premature infants are born with half of them at risk of ROP blindness. With your support and donations we can significantly reduce this number.

Our mission is eliminating
preventable blindness and
making eye care accessible to
all people in Armenia.

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