Seda lives in a small village in the Lori province of Armenia. She has four children, 10 grandchildren and considers herself a “happy grandmother.”
But Seda has had diabetes for 10 years now and most recently lost her sight due to the disease. She has been blind for the past three years. She’s fallen twice and injured her knees; has been unable to tend to her garden, which is how her family earns their income; and worst of all, hasn’t seen her children and grandchildren’s faces in years.
Because, at the time, there was no surgical eye center in her region, Seda was referred to Yerevan to receive surgery for her sight. But she didn’t have the means to make the hours-long journey to the country’s capital. For this reason, Seda stayed blind for years. “I lost all hope,” Seda remembers.
The Armenian EyeCare Project along with local doctors in Armenia soon recognized that while we were able to provide excellent eye care in the country’s capital of Yerevan, that many residents in Armenia weren’t able to access this care because they lived too far from the capital city and could not afford to travel there for treatment.
This became the beginning of our Regional Eye Clinics program, developing five Regional Eye Clinics in provinces throughout Armenia so that those living in the remote regions of Armenia, who are often the most financially vulnerable and most in need of care, could still have access to quality eye care.
“We were so happy to hear the news that there is a new Regional Clinic in Spitak,” Seda said. With the John and Hasmik Mgrdichian AECP Regional Eye Clinic opened in the city of Spitak, just a 15-minute drive from Seda’s village, Seda was able to receive the eye surgery she needed to regain her sight. Local Armenian ophthalmologists operated on Seda and the results have been wonderful. Seda has gotten her vision back.
“After the surgery, they opened my eyes and I was overjoyed,” Seda says. “They gave me sight!”
Seda even recalls the moment she was able to see all the different colors she had missed in her years of blindness. “When I saw the colors, I started to cry…” she says. “I had missed these colors so much.”
Seda can see clearly now. One hundred percent of her vision is back. She can once again see the vibrant colors of the world, plow her land in order to support herself and her family and best yet, look at the beautiful faces of her children and grandchildren.
“Without Spitak’s Regional Center and the American donors, I would not have sight,” Seda says. “Thank you so much. I’m very grateful to you.”