I received an email today from the American Optometric Association:
President Barack Obama signed into law a measure that provides nearly $600,000 in new federal resources to help expand the scope and impact of InfantSEE® - the signature public health program of the American Optometric Association (AOA) and administered by Optometry's CharityTM - The AOA Foundation.
The first direct appropriation, sponsored by Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) totaled $500,000 and is aimed at supporting expansion and outreach of the program.
"Many parents of newborns do not know that the most dramatic development of a child's visual system occurs within the first year of life," said Sen. Byrd. "And it is through early detection and treatment of potential problems that parents can help ensure poor vision and eye health does not severely affect their child's ability to learn and place them at a disadvantage in education and in life."
The second direct appropriation totaling $90,000 was sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and will support program expansion through outreach in Iowa.
"InfantSEE® is doing much more than identifying and treating risk factors that may cause eye and vision problems later in the life," said Sen. Harkin. "They are taking prevention to a new level to ensure healthier, thriving children and lower health care costs down the road."
InfantSEE® assessments are complementary to the routine well-care exams a baby receives from a pediatrician or family physician. Optometrists have the training to identify areas of risk that are critical to vision development and the skills to identify conditions that might not be detected in a routine pediatric wellness exam. In some cases, conditions may need to be monitored, immediately treated or referred to a pediatric eye specialist.
At Bright Eyes, we believe in and support the InfantSEE® program. You can see this post where I discuss Nora's first eye exam. I will probably do the same when Javier comes in for his exam when he is six months old. If you have a newborn or are expecting, remember that the InfantSEE® exam provides a no-cost vision assessment if your baby is between 6 and 12 months old.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.