AUA SPH’s Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology Strengthens Ophthalmic Care in Gegharkunik Marz

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By the AUA School of Public Health

GEGHARKUNIK – To celebrate World Sight Day on October 10, 2013, the Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology donated ophthalmic equipment to ophthalmic offices of the polyclinics and health centers of five towns in Gegharkunik marz and organized free eye screenings.

The Meghrigian Institute was established in 1999 under the auspices of the Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR) of the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s School of Public Health (SPH).

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. The international theme for World Sight Day 2013 was universal eye health, with a call to action: Get your eyes tested.

Since 2003, the Meghrigian Institute has continuously strengthened primary and secondary eye care services in Gegharkunik through 1) establishing the Lions Regional Ophthalmic Unit (ROU) in Sevan in collaboration with the Ararat Lions Club and the Lions Club International Foundation,  2) equipping rural examination centers with basic ophthalmic equipment and supplies, 3) implementing eye screenings among school children, the general population living in remote areas of the region, and diabetic patients, and 4) ophthalmic trainings of ophthalmologists, primary health care providers, and nurses including the school nurses.

The donations, made to centers in Sevan, Gavar, Martuni, Vardenis and Tchambarak, were based on a needs assessment conducted by the Meghrigian Institute. In order to encourage people to get their eyes tested, the Meghrigian Institute also offered free eye screenings and gave free eyeglass frames to those who were diagnosed with refractive errors.

Visual impairment and avoidable blindness are global public health problems because they lead to disability, suffering, and loss of productivity. Many visual impairments could be easily diagnosed and corrected at an early age to avoid further complications. The donated equipment, in combination with regular screenings, will promote early detection of refractive errors in Gegharkunik marz.

The mission of the Meghrigian Institute is to prevent avoidable blindness. The Meghrigian Institute has implemented many eye programs and research projects and organized various blindness prevention seminars and conferences in Armenia and Artsakh.


Aida Giloyan, the Meghrigian Institute’s project coordinator, gives an interview to National Public Television


Ani Babayan, the Meghrigian Institute’s ophthalmologist, conducts free eye screenings


Ani Babayan, the Meghrigian Institute’s ophthalmologist, gives the new ophthalmic trial lens set and trial frame to Karine Taroyan, the Martuni Health Center’s ophthalmologist

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve the health of the populace and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals and others to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

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