World Sight Day 2013
According to World Health Organization, approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness. Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. 90% of blind people live in low-income countries. An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired. About 65 % of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, while this age group comprises only 20% of the world's population. Increasing elderly populations in many countries mean that more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment. Yet 80% of visual impairment is avoidable - treatable and/or preventable.
The global theme for World Sight Day 2013 (WSD 2013) was “Get Your Eyes Tested” – a call for action to everyone to have eye checkups performed regularly. Along with discussion of eye health issues in Armenia, this was the main topic of the media briefing given by the Country Director of the Armenian EyeCare Project (AECP), Dr. Nune Yeghizaryan and the coordinator of USAID/AECP program Center of Excellence for Prevention of Childhood Blindness, Dr. Ruzanna Harutyunyan. Series of events dedicated to WSD 2013 were presented to media.
With the support of RA Ministry of Health and Orange Foundation, AECP continues its medical outreach program in regions of Armenia. Among many patients who received quality eye care at the Mobile Eye Hospital, the case of Sasoun Hareyan from Isahakyan village of Shirak region embodies the spirit of the WSD. After trauma, Sasoun underwent successful eye surgery and laser treatment. On WSD, the vision of 25- year-old young man was restored from 10 to 70%. He may now return to work and normal life and bring into reality his personal plans for the future. In frames of the program,
to the WSD committed to conducting eye screenings at the secondary school of Akhuryan village and three public education sessions for children.
The WSD was also the incentive to organize eye screenings for disabled children at “Nor Astgh” NGO. Of the 38 screened children, 19 were identified with vision problems; eight of them learned about their problems for the first time.
In framework of USAID/AECP program, the Center of Excellence for Prevention of Childhood Blindness eye screenings for infants at the Republican Institute of Reproductive Health, Perinatology, Obstetrics, and Gynecology were dedicated to the WSD as well.
Despite of the large scope of work performed, serious eye health concerns continue to emerge in Armenia, particularly in remote regions. As such on WSD 2013, a new systemized approach is being developed in Armenia, revealing a new programmatic stage, which includes creation of regional ophthalmological centers in remote marzes of Armenia.
“The aim of the WSD is voicing globally the problems and challenges of visually impaired people and remind governments worldwide about their responsibilities. The AECP is the first organization in Armenia which started marking the WSD through various public outreach events. It is more that actual to mention today that the active participation of people is very much important in prevention of blindness. We encourage everyone check their eyesight regularly. In their turn, the AECP and its partners will do the best to make the quality eye care accessible”, says Dr. Nune Yeghiazaryan, AECP Country Director.
Especially for the WSD, the AECP, in partnership with Aurora Barealisse branding company, issued a poster on the topic “Get Your Eyes Tested.” It will be disseminated online, as well as installed in medical centers of remote regions or Armenia.
Our mission is eliminating
preventable blindness and
making eye care accessible to
all people in Armenia.