Blindness in Armenia
Armenia is a truly ancient civilization. Archeological evidence suggests that people have lived in the region for 325,000 years. Indeed, its modern capital, Yerevan, was founded thirty years before the traditional founding of Rome. Its ancient ruins, Medieval churches, and dazzling artwork are the stuff of legend.
Since achieving independence from the USSR in 1991, however, Armenia has struggled to provide health care to all of its people. According to the World Health Organization, many local communities lack access to treatment and medicine. This is especially true in rural areas, where healthcare professionals are scarce.
Children are particularly vulnerable to deprivation in Armenia. According to UNICEF, two out of every three children lack adequate housing, healthcare, education, access to food, or other necessities. There are three times as many blind infants in the country as there are in the United States. This is because there are too few eye surgeons in the country to treat blindness in general. Moreover, rates of juvenile diabetes and diabetes-related conditions that can lead to blindness continue to rise.
Many people also suffer from serious long-term eye trauma, due to landmines that are still scattered throughout the country. However, cataracts are the most cause of blindness.
SEE in Armenia
In May 2017, SEE held its first-ever clinic in Yerevan. While there, we worked with Arpan Global, a charity that provides medical supplies and education to underserved populations around the globe. Our team of volunteers hosted a one-week clinic, successfully restoring sight to 23 people. We also screened an additional 49 patients, checking their eye health and for any eye diseases. SEE plans to return to Armenia in the future, where we will continue providing free and accessible eye care services for those in need.