Eye care physician gets U.S. training

Eye care physician gets U.S. training

Published: Monday May 27, 2013

Dr. Asatur Hovsepyan.

YEREVAN – The San Clemente Sunrise Rotary Club, the American Academy
of Ophthalmologists and the Armenian EyeCare Project combined their
resources and complementary missions to sponsor the continuing medical
education of Dr. Asatur Hovsepyan, an Armenian physician and medical
director of the Armenian EyeCare Project’s Mobile Eye Hospital.

Dr. Hovsepyan attended the Academy’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Following Chicago, Hovsepyan traveled to Southern California to train
with Dr. Roger Ohanesian, founder and president of the Armenian
EyeCare Project.

While in Chicago, Dr. Hovsepyan participated in roundtable discussions
and instructional classes moderated and taught by leading experts in
ophthalmology, and skills-transfer sessions-hands-on courses offering
intensive training in surgical and diagnostic techniques with direct
supervision and a low participant-to-instructor ratio. These are
exceptional opportunities for physicians from developing countries and
have significant and far-reaching outcomes for the physician, his
colleagues at home and his country.

Following his continuing education programs in Chicago Hovsepyan
traveled to Southern California to train with Dr. Roger Ohanesian,
founder and president of the Armenian EyeCare Project. While visiting
Ohanesian’s ambulatory surgical clinics in Laguna Hills and San
Clemente, Hovsepyan was able to observe surgical procedures and
patients in stages of pre- and post-surgery learning new techniques
and patient management.

Upon his return to Armenia and the Mobile Eye Hospital Hovsepyan began
teaching his colleagues new diagnosis and treatment procedures and
surgical techniques, leveraging his experience to benefit many more
physicians and ultimately, patients.

The mission of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is to
advance the lifelong learning and professional interests of
ophthalmologists and to ensure that the public can obtain the best
possible eye care. The Academy is a professional medical association
of ophthalmologists, headquartered in San Francisco, California. Its
membership includes more than 90 percent of practicing
ophthalmologists in the United States as well as over 7,000 members

Founded in 1905, the mission of Rotary International, of which San
Clemente Sunrise is one of its 33,000 worldwide clubs, is to provide
service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding,
goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional,
and community leaders. Rotary clubs, with its 1.2 million members,
exist to improve communities through a range of humanitarian,
intercultural and educational activities. Clubs advance international
understanding by partnering with clubs in other countries.

The San Clemente Sunrise Rotary Club has been involved in
international service since its inception more than 20 years ago.
Under their motto, “Service above Self,” San Clemente Sunrise
Rotarians have always worked to help those in their local community
and throughout the world. The Rotary Club expands its reach by
supporting international organizations and programs throughout the

Blindness is a terrible fate with enormous personal, social, and
economic consequences that can condemn otherwise healthy individuals
to lives of poverty and dependence. Yet, 80 percent of all blindness
can be prevented or treated. The Armenian EyeCare Project’s mission is
to eliminate preventable blindness and to make eye care accessible to
all Armenians.

Over the past 21 years, with charitable programs that combat the
debilitating causes of blindness, the Armenian EyeCare Project has
been able to train Armenian ophthalmologists to provide comprehensive
eye examinations, perform surgery and laser procedures and dispense
new eyeglasses. The Project has examined and treated 550,000 Armenians
and restored the sight of 60,000 through Cataract and other surgeries.

Founded in 1992, and incorporated in 2002, the Armenian EyeCare
Project is a California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation. To
accomplish their mission and to treat eye disease, restore sight and
change lives, a comprehensive, integrated five-point program was
developed, which includes (1) medical education and training; (2)
direct patient care; (3) publication; (4) research; and (5) capacity

In 2003, the Project’s Mobile Eye Hospital (MEH) traveled by boat from
Vermont where it was built, to the country of Georgia and then by
truck to Yerevan. The MEH is the Project’s hub of regional service
delivery and travels country-wide screening and delivering eye care to
thousands of children and adults. With this method of eye care
delivery the Project is able to save or restore the sight of
significantly more people living throughout the Marzes in Armenia. The
MEH has traveled to all marzes in Armenia at least twice where all
surgeries and other ophthalmological examinations and treatments are
performed as charitable services at no cost to the Armenian people.

Upon his return to Armenia and the Mobile Eye Hospital where he is
director, Dr. Hovsepyan talked about his learning experience in the
U.S. and said, “I will be forever grateful to the San Clemente Sunrise
Rotary Club, the Academy and the EyeCare Project for joining together
to sponsor my continuing education and for giving me this exciting
opportunity that I can share with my colleagues in Armenia.”


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