Photo by Haylee Sherwood via Flickr
The InfantSEE® program is celebrating its 10th birthday. Happy Birthday InfantSEE® and Happy Anniversary to all the eye doctors who have been participating in this wonderful program.
InfantSEE®, developed by the American Optometric Association and The Vision Care Institute of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., is a 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. We feel so strongly about the importance of healthy vision that participating member optometrists will provide a no-cost comprehensive infant eye and vision assessment within the first year of life.
I remember when the InfantSEE® program launched. The optometrists involved knew it was only a matter of time before they saved a baby’s life. Sure enough, about a year later, Gracie’s mom called the AOA to say thank you. Gracie had a retinoblastoma, an intraocular cancer. Gracie lost her eye but early detection saved her life.
An eye exam during the first year of life can identify vision problems that need treatment; and not just life threatening retinoblastomas. Strabismus and amblyopia effect as many as 200,000 newborns in America each year. The earlier these problems are detected and treated, the better the outcomes.
Vision problems are not always obvious and yet the impact on child development can be enormous. Dr. Glen Steele, who has been InfantSEE®’s champion since its creation, says it well: “Our world is primarily a visual world, one we must explore and manipulate to gain the full wonder of it. Through time, we must learn to recognize time, space, size, texture, smell, feel, relationships, and all the other links to life that are to be developed as a “normal” process. We call these links developmental milestones but they are heavily weighted in the development of vision. Optometry’s responsibility is to provide recognition, observation and guidance for parents in this process.”
A parent can give an infant a great gift by seeking an InfantSEE® assessment. I am proud to be an InfantSEE® provider and I look forward to celebrating many more InfantSEE® birthdays.
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Read more about infant vision and InfantSEE®: