This post offered by guest blogger, Robert Nurisio, COVT. Robert is a Vision Therapist with over 15 years experience and is the primary writer for the VT Works blog. He received his certification in 2008 and current practices under Dr. Mary Beck at the Austin Eye Gym in Cedar Park, TX.

It may be true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and for one little boy in Illinois, his picture brought forth one very scary word – cancer. For anyone who missed this story over the weekend, Avery’s mother noticed something very different in Avery’s pictures than was present in his sibling’s photos. Rather than the presence of the typical red reflex, his pupil appeared white.

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After some debate with her husband, and with some understandable trepidation, Avery’s mother took him to an eye doctor who diagnosed the malignant structure. Luckily, the cancerous growth was contained within the globe of the eyeball, and after its removal, Avery is expected to make a full recovery. You can view the complete news coverage on Avery here.

Avery’s case highlights the need for eye examinations in young children and reminds us of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) current recommendation that children have their first eye examination between six and twelve months of age. This recommendation comes in the presence of, or in the absence of, parental concerns.

COVD strongly supports the AOA’s current InfantSee initiative and many Developmental Optometrists participate in the InfantSee program.

This from the AOA’s website:

Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, at about age 6 months, you should take your baby to your doctor of optometry for his or her first thorough eye examination.
Things that the optometrist will test for include:

· excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
· eye movement ability
· eye health problems.
These problems are not common, but it is important to identify children who have them at this young age. Vision development and eye health problems are easier to correct if treatment begins early.

InfantSEE® is the American Optometric Association’s public health program 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, participating optometrists provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service. Click here to learn more and locate a doctor in your area who can provide the free infant assessment.

A special thanks to Avery and his family for this important reminder! Continued good health!

To find a Developmental Optometrist associated with COVD, please visit www.covd.org, and utilize the “Locate A Doctor” feature.

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