Parenthood—and how doctors of optometry can offer support
A 2022 survey revealed that the average American parent turns to Google with questions about their baby more than 2,000 times within the first year. Additionally, the survey reported that the average parent makes 67 phone calls to medical experts per year.
While there’s no way to eliminate new-parent anxiety, InfantSEE® providers play a vital role in educating and supporting caregivers as they navigate parenthood. A program of Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation, InfantSEE 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 member doctors of optometry provide a no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessment for infants 6-12 months old regardless of a family's income or access to insurance coverage.
Caregivers are often inundated with advice and information but building trust with a doctor of optometry can help ease worry and establish a reliable relationship for any future concerns.
“Parenthood is a beautiful and bumpy journey. InfantSEE providers offer an essential public health service that often reminds caregivers they aren’t alone,” says Jennifer Zolman, O.D., chair of the AOA’s InfantSEE & Children’s Vision Committee. “The value of the InfantSEE program expands beyond the services provided. It sends a clear message: the only way to control what kind of community you live in is to contribute to it.”
All parents, and kids, are different, which means encouraging pregnant moms and expecting caregivers to bring their 6- to 12-month-old in for an eye exam isn’t one-size-fits-all. Here’s how to get the conversation started:
- Listen carefully and never dismiss questions or concerns.
- Personal parenting milestones, cute pictures and funny anecdotes help create a stress-free and non-judgmental environment.
- Remember that this transition is scary, stressful and can be physically grueling. Offer flexibility in appointment times and make sure cancellations or rescheduled appointments are positive experiences.
- Don’t overload caregivers with too much information. Keep it simple or offer them a written note, infographic or phone number if they want to learn more.
- Provider benefit! The InfantSEE website offers free resources for providers and a “doctor locator” for the public to access your name and practice information.
- Parenting advice can be helpful when asked for. Keep in mind that relatable stories are always welcome—as long as they won’t upset or alarm parents.
Give parents (and Google) a break by implementing InfantSEE into your practice. From educational brochures and posters to online resources designed for parents, there are plenty of ways to educate new caregivers in your community about the importance of eye health in infants and the whole family.
Doctors of optometry offer an essential public health service and life-changing care through the InfantSEE program. Learn more about becoming an InfantSEE provider.
Pregnant mothers and comprehensive eye exams
Pregnancy is a thrilling and sometimes unfamiliar adventure. Almost all moms are aware of common changes they may experience during pregnancy, such as nausea, sleeping patterns and even depression or anxiety. But while two in five (39%) future moms don’t know their vision can change during pregnancy, one in six (16%) recent moms experienced this type of vision change, according to a 2019 AOA survey.
To ensure all moms experience the special moment of seeing their baby clearly for the first time, remind expecting mothers to get a comprehensive eye exam during pregnancy. Their health and the health of their baby are important and checking on all unusual symptoms can help them have a healthy pregnancy from start to finish.
This is an exciting time in a patient’s life—celebrate them and their growing family by building a schedule for the whole family.
Become an InfantSEE® provider
Ensure eye and vision care become an integral part of infant wellness.
It is said that a message must be repeated multiple times before it sinks in with an audience. During a satellite media tour, AOA President Ronald L. Benner, O.D., used that strategy to extol the essentialness of annual back-to-school eye examinations and link them to student performance in the classroom.
Change in standard of care is not yet warranted, say doctors of optometry who wrote editorial for study. Additional research is needed.