InfantSEE® helps young doctors of optometry build awareness and their practices
From left, Brittany Schauer, O.D., of Mandan, North Dakota, Colleen Gould, O.D., of East Lansing, Michigan, and Nathan Otte, O.D., of Seymour, Indiana, are InfantSEE® providers.
Excerpted from page 8 of the July/August 2016 edition of AOA Focus.
Young doctors of optometry are doing their share, through AOA's InfantSEE® program, to make sure eye and vision health are fundamental to infant wellness.
Through InfantSEE, a program of Optometry Cares®–The AOA Foundation, thousands of AOA-member doctors have provided more than 120,000 babies with no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments since 2005. Three young optometric professionals, Colleen Gould, O.D., of East Lansing, Michigan, Nathan Otte, O.D., of Seymour, Indiana, and Brittany Schauer, O.D., of Mandan, North Dakota, share why they value the program.
What prompted you to get involved with InfantSEE?
Dr. Gould: Being a recent graduate and new to a community, it can be hard to figure out how to bring new patients into the office. The InfantSEE program is a great way to meet new patients and get involved in the community.
Dr. Otte: The faculty at Indiana University did a great job teaching me the importance of pediatric eye care and how to be comfortable providing it. InfantSEE exams were among the most rewarding experiences I had during my rotations, and I was eager to continue them after graduation.
Dr. Schauer: When I joined my practice after graduation, my new colleagues were already existing providers for InfantSEE. Because we see a lot of families, it really was a "no-brainer" for me to become an InfantSEE provider.
Why do you value the InfantSEE program?
Dr. Otte: Exams with normal findings are an opportunity to educate parents about their child's visual development and overall eye health. If we do find a concern during the visit, early intervention can often dramatically improve the outcome of the condition and quality of life for the child.
Dr. Schauer: It lets parents know when their child should have his or her first eye exam. It also allows for early detection of ocular disease or refractive problems. Many issues, such as amblyopia, can be prevented with proper treatment and early intervention.
How has participating in InfantSEE benefited your practice and strengthened you as a doctor?
Dr. Gould: The InfantSEE program has strengthened my pediatric clinical skills and made me more comfortable examining children. It also has strengthened my practice by bringing more families into the office.
Dr. Otte: The InfantSEE program establishes the foundation for a lifetime of eye care and strengthens my relationship with the entire family. I've built a positive reputation among local pediatricians and have become a referral resource when they suspect an eye-related issue.
Why would you suggest other young doctors volunteer as InfantSEE providers?
Dr. Gould: I think some doctors may be hesitant to get involved due to a lack of experience, time or proper equipment. Really all it takes for a successful InfantSEE exam is 10 minutes, a helpful technician, a few shiny toys, and brushing up on your best funny faces.
Dr. Schauer: InfantSEE is a great opportunity to serve a patient professionally and to get to be the very first person to examine their eyes. You might even become the optometrist for the whole family. It's a great practice builder.
Become and InfantSEE provider or to renew your commitment.
MyEyeDr.’s paraoptometric staff will have access to a trove of AOA educational resources through its education and professional development hub, EyeLearn.
An investment in your community’s wellness, InfantSEE® is not a charitable program, but rather a public health initiative intended to change the way parents think about eye care for their infants and families.
Children’s vision was already a public health concern for the AOA. But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and doctors of optometry are increasingly alarmed by the growing prevalence of eye conditions exacerbated by remote learning due to the crisis. The AOA is lending its voice as a leader in eye health and vision care through a yearlong conversation on children’s eye health at a critical juncture.