Cooing, sitting up and crawling are signs that a baby is growing. A baby’s vision has stages of development too, but usually there are no signs to mark the progress.
In an effort to encourage infant eye and vision assessments and to ensure they are accessible to everyone, Optometry Cares from The American Optometric Association Foundation and Vistakon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. created InfantSEE® a no-cost public health program developed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide.
Through InfantSEE®, optometrists provide a one-time, comprehensive eye and vision assessment to infants between the ages of 6 and 12 months, offering early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no cost regardless of income or access to insurance coverage.
Since one in 10 infants in the U.S. have undetected vision problems, ranging from crossed eyes to cancer, the InfantSEE® program’s goals are to:
• Identify and treat risk factors that may have adverse effects on eye and vision health.
• Reduce the impact of eye and visual conditions that may lead to impairments and/or loss of sight, and may also affect the child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
• Educate parents about the importance of eye care for their children.
Because of the significant role vision plays in overall development, early identification and rapid response will minimize the long term impact of these visual conditions on development.
Saving Lives and Improving Quality of Life through Early Detection
A new mom took her 8 month old daughter to the optometrist for her InfantSEE® eye health and vision assessment. She had learned about the program while she was pregnant, and remembered the program when her daughter turned seven months. She had no concerns, but simply wanted to make use of the no-cost program. During the assessment, the optometrist detected a white retinal mass, and referred her to a pediatric ophthalmologist where a retinoblastoma (eye cancer) diagnosis was confirmed. Her parents later chose to have their daughter’s eye removed. Five years later this baby is a healthy, cancer-free kindergartner.
Another baby’s quality of life was vastly improved by an InfantSEE® assessment. This child’s parents and healthcare team were at a loss as to why the six month old was not achieving developmental milestones as she should. During the InfantSEE® assessment, it was determined that she had a significant prescription status that prevented her from engaging in visual activities at near distances. As a result of the early intervention, this toddler has made significant progress in catching up to the developmental milestones that she was previously missing. Her delays could have been much more profound had the vision problem been caught later on.
How to Find an InfantSEE® Provider
The AOA recommends that infants have an InfantSEE® assessment before their first birthday and young children have comprehensive eye exams at age three, before starting school and then every two years thereafter.
Parents may find more information and locate a provider in their area by visiting www.infantsee.org and clicking on the icon “Find a InfantSEE® Doctor” at the top of the page, entering a zip code and adjusting the search radius (1 to 100 miles). Those who do not have access to the internet may call toll-free 888-396-EYES (3937) to obtain a list of providers in their vicinity.
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 optometrists provide a comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants within the first year of life regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage.