Monday, December 15, 2008

Ophthalmology in the new Europe

This month EuroTimes looks at ophthalmology in the new Europe. Among those featured is Levon Barseghyan, MD, professor and head of the Ophthalmology Department of the National Institute of Health in Armenia.

Dr Barseghyan (pictured above) says his country faced a lot of difficulties after the break-up of the Soviet Union, but ophthalmologists have continued contacts with the major centres in Moscow and Ukraine.

Dr Barseghyan, who studied at the Filatov Eye Institute in Odessa, Ukraine and in Moscow, says that while contacts among Russian-speaking ophthalmologists are not as frequent as before, they continue. And that is why the Fyodorov meeting is so important, he says.

Other major influences on Armenian ophthalmology come from outside the region. One such influence is Roger Ohanesian, MD, the founder of the Armenian EyeCare Project. Dr Barseghyan explains that Dr Ohanesian has brought doctors to Armenia from abroad, helped to train Armenian doctors in the US, and donated such equipment as phaco machines. “He has also brought a mobile hospital to Armenia, which is very well equipped,” Dr Barseghyan adds.

While older ophthalmologists continue to promote ophthalmology in their countries, the future of the specialty lies with a new generation of young Armenian ophthalmologists, Dr Barseghyan says.

“There are better opportunities for our young ophthalmologists than there was in my time,” he says. “They can travel to international conferences, they can gather information from the Internet. By getting more knowledge, they can become better doctors.”

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