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Access To Free Infant Eye Exam Through InfantSEE

InfantSEE is a federal public health program that allows parents to get a free, comprehensive infant eye examination within their child's first year of life. According to the American Optometric Association, all children should have an eye exam between ages six to twelve months to determine that their eyes are healthy and their vision is developing normally. Conditions that may affect young children in this age group include undiagnosed vision problems, amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed-eyes), eye disease, or retinoblastoma (intraocular cancer). Taking the step to take your child to a free vision screening could provide an early diagnosis of these problems and lead to a decrease in the occurrence of amblyopia or even the early detection of cancer.

We first learned about the InfantSEE program from our pediatrician, who handed us a pamphlet on the program at a routine well check for our son. Our daughter suffers from amblyopia and strabismus, so we have been taking her to a pediatric opthamologist since she was six months old. We never noticed a similar problem with our son's eyes. Nevertheless, we wanted to be sure that he had healthy vision and was entirely free from strabismus or amblyopia, since they can be inherited conditions.

Initially, we had difficulty finding a doctor in our area that would perform an eye examination under the InfantSEE program. The website (www.infantsee.org) has a list of doctors to choose from in your area. One doctor who was listed on the InfantSEE website claimed that she did not perform free exams under the program. After some persistence on our part, the doctor later said that she would perform the eye exam and stated that she just had to complete her paperwork for the program.

After a few months of waiting, we were finally able to make an appointment and see the doctor. We really did not know what to expect from an eye exam since my son was just eight months old at the time. However, we were impressed by the thoroughness of the exam, the patience of the doctor who performed the exam, and the knowledge they displayed when answering my questions. The doctor checked the structure of the eye, used images to test his vision, and even dilated his pupils using a spray rather than an eye drop. Our son seemed to enjoy the process and the attention, and he became the sweetheart of the nurses. In total, the eye exam lasted about an hour, and the entire exam was at no cost to us.

The InfantSEE program and the free exam that we received for our son really put our minds at ease, especially in light of the complex issues our daughter has faced with her eyes. Because this program offers an examination at no cost to parents, there is no reason to postpone or forego an infant eye exam in the first year of your child's life.

Sources:

Infant SEE, "About InfantSEE, " www.infantsee.org.

By Annie Lynne - I am a professional woman living in the Oregon, Ohio area. I work in Toledo, Ohio and have an interest in educational issues.  





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