GLENDALE — On May 12, the Armenian EyeCare Project hosted a small gathering in Glendale at the home of Michael and Mari Sahakian. The evening was a way of sharing the Project’s accomplishments with friends and donors and thanking those in the Glendale and Pasadena area for their longtime and loyal support.
Dr. Roger Ohanesian, an ophthalmologist in Laguna Hills and Founder and Chairman of the Armenian EyeCare Project, talked to guests at the gathering as they looked out over a gorgeous view of the Los Angeles Basin and dined on hors d’oeuvres and dessert.
Discussing the enormity — and the profound significance — of the Project’s accomplishments, Dr. Ohanesian talked about how, over the past nearly 25 years, the EyeCare Project has changed the landscape of eye care in Armenia, which has enabled them to transition from a Soviet system of centralized health care to a Western system with new funding and delivery systems.
Dr. Ohanesian also discussed the organization’s many accomplishments in Armenia including seven subspecialty eye clinics currently operating in Yerevan; the Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness, which opened its doors in Yerevan in 2010; the cutting-edge Mobile Eye Hospital which travels throughout Armenia to reach those living outside the capital; and — its biggest project yet — the five Regional Eye Clinics currently being developed throughout Armenia so those living in remote regions of the country will have access to quality eye care.
As the Project implements each of its programs it is evident there is a common thread — enabling Armenians to have, within a few years, self-sustaining quality eye care throughout the country.
“We’ve had the major areas covered and they’re covered very well,” said Dr. Ohanesian. “The doctors in Armenia have become so skilled they have patients coming from other countries for eye care and doctors from other countries coming for training and to observe their highly skilled colleagues.” Dr. Ohanesian talked about some recent cases when patients from Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia traveled to Armenia for eye care.
Dr. Ohanesian also shared some impressive statistics with guests: Through the Mobile Eye Hospital alone, nearly 800,000 patients — 580,000 adults and 225,000 children — have been cared for of which more than 50,000 patients had surgery and 120,000 received eyeglasses at no cost. At the Project’s subspecialty clinics in Yerevan — Retina, Glaucoma, Corneal-Uveitis, Pediatrics and more — nearly 80,000 patients are seen each year and more than 5,000 infants have been screened and treated for ROP at the Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness.
“What the EyeCare Project has done in the past 25 years has been extraordinary,” said Aram Bassenian, a former board member of the Project. “Many people didn’t think bringing this level of quality eye care services to Armenia was possible. But we believed, we kept going, and here we are today.”
With two of the five Regional Eye Clinics already funded — the Haig Boyadjian Eye Clinic in Ijevan, Tavush and the John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Eye Clinic in Spitak, Lori — the EyeCare Project is 40 percent of the way toward its “Five-for-Five” goal — five clinics in five years for $5 million.
If you would like to be a part of this exciting program to bring quality eye care to the people of Armenia there are several naming opportunities and ways to contribute. For more information, call the AECP office at 949-933-4069 or visit www.eyecareproject.com.