ST. LOUIS, May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States and the most prevalent impairing conditions during childhood. However, according to the American Optometric Association's (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® survey, only 19 percent of parents know that a child should have their first comprehensive eye assessment by an eye doctor between six and 12 months of age. Visual development is most dramatic at that stage making it a critical time to detect and treat eye and vision problems before conditions worsen or cause developmental delays. Tweet: @InfantSEE A child should have their first comprehensive eye assessment by an optometrist between 6 & 12 months of age. #InfantSEE
To address this need and better educate parents and caregivers, Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation administers the InfantSEE® program, a no-cost public health program to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide. Through InfantSEE®, optometrists provide a one-time, comprehensive eye assessment to infants in their first year of life, offering early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no cost, regardless of income.
"Even if a child isn't showing any signs or symptoms of problems, there could still be issues with their vision," said Dr. Glen Steele, chair of the InfantSEE® Committee. "If it's not detected and treated early, a number of eye and vision conditions can impair an infant's ability to reach important developmental milestones, create lifelong learning and social problems and even threaten sight."
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 tools 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.
Even without verbal communication from an infant, InfantSEE® doctors use specialized tests and are able to detect various eye and vision conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness, amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes) and even cancerous tumors. According to the American Eye-Q® survey, 36 percent of parents are unaware these issues can be detected in an infant and only 10 percent of parents know it's safe to dilate an infant's eyes to help detect these serious issues.
The AOA recommends that infants have an InfantSEE® assessment before their first birthday. Unless problems are detected, the next exam should be at age three, again before entering school and then yearly.
To locate a participating InfantSEE® provider or to learn more information about the program, visit http://www.infantsee.org/.
The American Optometric Association represents the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Its charitable foundation, Optometry Cares® – The AOA Foundation, is committed to expanding eye health and vision care access to everyone in the United States. InfantSEE®, a public health program managed by the foundation, provides a one-time, no-cost eye and vision assessment to babies between the ages of six and 12 months regardless of family income or insurance coverage to ensure that vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness.
About the American Eye-Q® survey:
The ninth annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From March 20-25, 2014, using an online methodology, PSB interviewed 1,000 Americans aged 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of U.S. general population.
Media Contact: Mackenzie Smith