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Manvelik Grigoryan, 6 y/o

Manvelik is almost a family member for the medical staff of the Malayan Eye Center in Yerevan.  He has been coming to the Malayan Eye Center from the village of Akunk (Kotayk marz) for already three years and has been treated by at least five doctors.  On the whole, Manvelik has been seeing eye doctors since two when he had burnt his eyes with a laundry bleach liquid.

Lilit, Manvelik’s mother, will never forget that October day: “We were prepared to leave the house when I noticed my younger son missing. Shortly, I heard a horrifying clamor from the bathroom.  There I saw Manvelik screaming, with his hands on his face.”   Manvelik had taken the open container with bleach liquid and tried to drink from it, thinking it was juice.  The liquid was splashed all over his face and hands.  “When I washed his face with water and he managed to open his eyelids at last, I saw that his eyes were completely white”, Lilit told us.

Emotions have been overwhelming Lilit since then – ranging from self-condemnation, guilt, helplessness to fear for her son’s future.   Before coming to Malayan Eye Center, Lilit had taken Manvelik to many doctors. Her fear grew when doctors told her that they would be unable to save his right eye. Thanks God the other eye preserved some vision at that moment, even though it was burned as well.   Manvelik suffered - he could not open the eyelid, he did not see anything with his right eye, and in addition, felt very insecure and isolated, since children in the yard made fun of him.

From her emotional experience Lilit remembered the sufferings and the fear that her son would never see properly in the future.  “It is impossible to express what we have experienced. My husband works as seasonal worker and hardly manages to help both ends meet.  There were moments when I could not imagine where to get means for my son’s treatment” said Lilit.  Manvelik, his parents and two siblings are an ordinary poor family.  Their income constitutes a state pension of 20,000 drams (50 $) and 11,000 drams (28$) for Manvelik. 

This situation lasted for almost four years until a miracle happened to Manvelik. After a series of surgeries performed at the Malayan Eye Center, Manvelik was able to see with his right eye again.

The AECP has its role in the “miracle”.  Manvelik now carries a keratoprosthesis provided by the AECP. All three doctors who are treating Manevelik, have undergone an AECP fellowship in the US.   According to Manvelik’s doctor, Dr. Anna Hovakimyan: “The major success is in the combined hard work performed by the THE MALAYAN EYE CENTER  medical staff towards restoring the eyesight of this kid.  It is very noteworthy that all doctors who cured Manvelik are AECP fellows trained in the United States. Plastic surgeon Dr. Armine Gharakeshishyan has opened the damaged eyelid, I have implanted the keratoprosthesis. Besides, some signs of glaucoma have been identified, and our glaucoma specialist, Dr. Lilit Voskanyan is working with the kid as well. This is really a great investment and contribution from AECP.”  Dr. Anna Hovakimyan said that their American mentors and colleagues may be proud of them, because Armenian ophthalmologists successfully practice innovative techniques and knowledge provided by the AECP physicians travelling regularly to Armenia. 

The family yet has a long way to go - Manvelik will undergo more procedures and laser treatment. However, this does not break the will of his mother.  Lilit feels that things change when people really care for her loving son. “Thank you for my son’s future” she concluded.

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

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