InfantSEE ®: Establishing a Lifetime of Healthy Eyes and Vision
Cooing, sitting up, and crawling are all signs that a baby is growing. But, did you know that a baby's vision has stages of development too? Signs marking vision development are often less noticeable even to parents, teachers, and other health care providers. That's why the American Optometric Association recommends scheduling an infant's first eye exam around six months of age, immediately after the eye undergoes rapid and profound changes and is therefore most vulnerable to interference with healthy development.
InfantSEE, a public health program, managed by Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation, is designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child's quality of life. Under this program, AOA member optometrists provide a no-cost comprehensive eye and vision assessment for infants 6-12 months old regardless of a family's income or access to insurance coverage.
While many parents may think that a vision screening is enough, a study funded by the National Eye Institute found that even the most sophisticated vision screening tools, administered by the most highly-trained vision screeners, will miss one-third of children with an eye or vision disorder.[i] InfantSEE provides early intervention using necessary specialized equipment and procedures - which are not available as part of most vision screenings. During an InfantSEE assessment a doctor of optometry will test for excessive of unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, eye movement ability, eye health problems, and discuss patient and family history. Comprehensive eye and vision care is important to detect problems early to ensure babies have the opportunity to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn.
|InfantSEE assessments reported.||Infants identified with cause for concern.||Eye and vision conditions identified.|
What about Children of ALL Ages?
Experts estimate that one in five preschool children have a vision problem and one in four school age children need or wear corrective lenses.[ii] Undetected and untreated eye and vision disorders, such as amblyopia and strabismus, too often become barriers to learning, leading to delayed reading and poorer outcomes in school. In-person comprehensive eye exams provided by an eye doctor are essential and thoroughly effective at identifying and ensuring early treatment for the range of vision and eye health issues that can impact a child's development and learning abilities. Conversely, simple vision screenings - which are often used by some health providers, in school districts, and by screening advocacy organizations - are a limited process and cannot be used to diagnosis an eye or vision problem. The good news is that millions of children have coverage for annual comprehensive eye exams and needed vision correction treatment - including eyeglasses - through their private insurance or federal programs like Medicaid and, in many states, CHIP. Help make sure that children have all of the tools and abilities that they need to succeed in school and later in life by ensuring direct-access to regular comprehensive eye exams provided in-person and by an eye doctor. For more information about the importance of comprehensive eye exams for all children and to find an AOA provider near you, please visit www.aoa.org.
[i] Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group. "Findings from the Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study." Optometry and vision science : official publication of the American Academy of Optometry 86.6 (2009): 619-623.
[ii] American Optometric Association. Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline-Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination. (1995, 2002, 2015): 10.
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