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AUA’s Meghrigian Institute Celebrates World Sight Day

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On October 12, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology (Meghrigian Institute) at the Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development of the Gerald & Patricia Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) celebrated World Sight Day (WSD) 2023. This international awareness day is dedicated to focusing on eye health issues throughout the globe. This year, the WSD theme was “Love Your Eyes at Work,” prioritizing eye health in the workplace.    

Within that framework, the Meghrigian Institute organized a workshop for the AUA community on Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of computers or digital devices. The Meghrigian Institute’s team provided guidance on adopting preventive measures in the workplace, such as adhering to the 20-20-20 rule, practicing blinking exercises, and arranging an ergonomic workspace aimed to alleviate CVS symptoms among employees. The Meghrigian Institute also developed an information booklet to raise awareness of CVS, detailing its symptoms, risk factors, and prevention methods. The booklet was distributed to interested individuals. 

Rishba Getzie Peter (MPH ’20) conducted a capstone project to assess the prevalence of CVS and associated risk factors among 143 undergraduate students of AUA. She found that 78.3% of the students reported experiencing CVS, with common symptoms including redness, headaches, itchy eyes, and a burning sensation. The study identified several factors associated with CVS, including refractive errors, sitting posture, distance between the eyes and digital device screen, and voluntary blinking. Adhering to recommendations regarding proper sitting posture and maintaining an appropriate viewing distance when using computers or other digital devices could potentially decrease the prevalence of CVS among the target population.

In addition, the Meghrigian Institute organized an eye screening event for the AUA community, with 43 participants taking part. Of those screened, 37 were found to have refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Additionally, 12 participants were diagnosed with various eye conditions, including blepharitis, dry eye disease, keratoconus, cataract, and glaucoma; 20 with uncorrected refractive errors received prescriptions for eyeglasses; and five were referred to specialized ophthalmic centers for advanced care.

CHS research assistant Adena Alahverdian (MPH ’22) participated as a panel speaker in the online conference titled “International Webinar on World Sight Day,” where she presented the Meghrigian project “Preserving Vision in the High-Tech World: CVS.” The conference was organized by the St. Andrews Education Foundation, St. Andrews College of Nursing, Pune, Maharashtra, Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing in association with Know the Glow (U.S.) and the Manila Central University Department of Optometry (Philippines). The webinar revolved around the main topics of diagnosis, treatment, nursing care, and prevention practices for maintaining good eye health and hosted more than 150 participants, including students of optometry, nursing, and allied health sciences. 

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.