Reaching from Los Angeles to Yerevan, local doctors are healing the eyes of Armenian infants who otherwise would go blind.
In June, a team of six doctors performed surgeries at a neonatal clinic in Yerevan, delivered key equipment and trained roughly 200 Armenian doctors in how to treat retinopathy of prematurity.
The illness strikes premature infants whose eyes have not developed enough to be exposed to the outside environment, said Dr. Thomas Lee, director of the Retina Institute at the Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, which partnered with the Armenia Eye Care Project on the mission.
Lee said the condition was unknown until recent medical advances helped save the lives of premature babies who in earlier times would not have survived, and that serious cases surface more often in developing countries.
If the condition, which often corrects itself, becomes serious, doctors have only about two days to save a child's eyesight.