In 1992, a call came from the Armenian Minister of Health: "Help us fight the growing wave of blindness." Years of tragedy had taken a heavy toll on the dark eyes of Armenia, a tiny country with three and one-half million people struggling toward a brighter future. Roger Ohanesian, M.D., a Laguna Beach, California ophthalmologist, made his first visit to Armenia that year and subsequently founded the Armenian Eye Care Project.
Nestled between Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan, Armenia suffered a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed more than 50,000, injuring many more. The same year warbroke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, lasting six destructive years. By 1991, a major health care crisis existed and the call for help was issued. Teams of American ophthalmologists, many returningto their homeland, embarked on their first mission to Armenia, taking with them medicine and equipment. Greater than half of the patients they treated were children and almost all were war casualties.