InfantSee Vision Screenings for Infants 6 to 12 Months of Age

Most people are surprised to hear that the American Optometric Association recommends eye exams to begin at six months of age. By six months, your child has met several important developmental milestones. At birth, the eyes begin to focus about a foot away from the child, mostly looking at faces. Around two months old, the child is learning to look around. At this point, the eyes don’t always coordinate well together. Your child should be able to track moving objects by four months old and begin reaching for things. As their eye hand coordination improves, they will become more accurate in reaching for things. Continue reading

AOA School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision

The American Optometric Association recently held a School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision in which doctors, nurses, educators and advocates for children’s health gathered to examine learning-related vision issues that are keeping children from achieving in the classroom. This summit was created to address the concerns that our current system is flawed and a policy shift is needed. The problem is that currently, the U.S. educational system and some health care providers rely heavily on vision screenings to discover the kids that need comprehensive exams. These screenings do catch some types of vision problems but they can miss about 75% of those children that have learning-related vision problems. Detecting these vision problems is very important as “studies show that much of what children learn comes though vision, and undetected and untreated eye and vision disorders in children, such as amblyopia and strabismus, can result in vision loss, additional costly treatments, delayed reading and poorer outcomes in school.”

The take-home statement that the summit produced is that comprehensive eye exams must serve as the foundation to determine school readiness in school-aged children. Another important point established at this meeting is the establishment of the link between healthy vision and classroom learning.

This historic summit is an important step in ensuring that children receive the proper detection and treatment of vision problems before they become detrimental to their learning. Here at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we are excited to see these changes being made, since it has been our goal from the beginning to not only catch vision problems at an early stage, evidenced by the InfantSEE program that we offer that provides free eye exams to infants between the age of 6 months and 1 year of age, but to also treat certain types of problems through our extensive one-on-one vision therapy program.

If you have any questions regarding the InfantSEE program, vision therapy program, or would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child before they start school, give our office a call or come in to schedule.

All the best,

Justin Schoonover, CPO

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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New Federal Recognition and Funding for InfantSEE® Program

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.

Be well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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