Twenty Years of Hope and Sight for Armenian Eyes.
The pain and suffering of blindness is incalculable. The restoration of sight is priceless. For 20 years the Armenian Eye Care Project has been working to eliminate preventable blindness in Armenia and to make 21st Century eye care accessible to every Armenian child and adult.
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 country about the size of Maryland with three and one-half million people struggling toward a brighter future.
Nestled between Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan, Armenia suffered a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed more than 50,000 and injured many more. The same year war broke 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 returning to their homeland, embarked on a 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.
Roger Ohanesian, M.D., a Laguna Beach, California ophthalmologist, made his first visit to Armenia in 1992, and subsequently founded the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP). Every year since, American ophthalmologists have traveled to Armenia twice a year, at their own expense, to bring hope and eye care to a people who view the American doctors as their last chance for sight.