3 events in 2023 that show why giving to InfantSEE® is vital

November 28, 2023
Check out how InfantSEE® used donations in 2023 and consider making an end-of-year gift to support the program in 2024 and beyond.
InfantSEE - Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation

Above: InfantSEE has provided more than 170,000 free, comprehensive eye and vision health assessments for infants since it began 18 years ago. Group photo: Students workshops are key to gaining real-world experience with infants. These free, pop-up workshops are held at schools of optometry across the country throughout the year.

InfantSEE®, a program that provides no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision health assessments for infants, has helped prevent a lifetime of vision complications and put children on the path to improved quality of life after receiving a diagnosis from a participating InfantSEE optometrist.  

Managed by Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation and backed from the beginning by longtime AOA visionary supporter Johnson and Johnson Vision, InfantSEE is a public health program designed to ensure eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life.  

Optometry Cares has educated the public nationwide about the importance of infant and children’s vision care for nearly 20 years. But the program isn’t possible without participating doctors of optometry and generous donations. Learn how to donate this Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season.

With over 2,800 InfantSEE assessments provided so far this year, let’s recap 2023 and see how InfantSEE showed up for the profession and the public.  

1) Workshops for students 

A bundle of joy also means a bundle of energy, so how do optometrists get comfortable with pediatric patients and exams? Not to mention interacting with parents at the same time. 

Knowing that the typical classroom lecture or conference discussion doesn’t lend itself to the real-world experience of helping infants, InfantSEE hosted pop-up workshops throughout the year across the country to provide optometry students with education in real-time.  

At Optometry’s Meeting® 2023, which featured a strong student and young professional attendance through the AOA+ program, InfantSEE offered two workshops. Continuing the workshops’ success, InfantSEE hosted pop-up events at regional conferences at colleges of optometry and virtually to accommodate busy students. During each workshop, seasoned InfantSEE providers share their expertise and experience with students to encourage them to become providers after graduation—allowing the program to flourish and grow with each new generation.  

“The InfantSEE Workshop showed me that there's a real need for thorough care of our most vulnerable population—babies! After I graduate, I think this program will be a great opportunity for my practice. It's truly amazing to think of all the lives that I can impact!" says Lindsie Belt, University of Houston College of Optometry.

"The InfantSEE Workshop deepened my sense of responsibility and passion as a future optometrist as well as further motivated me to provide quality eye care to our youngest patients. I am a firm believer that preventative eye care should commence as soon as possible, and to me, the InfantSEE program fully embodies this crucial principle," says Brittany Mohning, Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry.

2) InfantSEE® & Children’s Vision Grassroots Advocate Program  

New this year with plans for tremendous growth in the future, the InfantSEE & Children’s Vision Grassroots Advocate program is designed to promote the importance of a lifetime of comprehensive eye and vision assessments starting in the first year of life.  

Through constant public education about infant eye and vision assessments, InfantSEE has built a foundation to expand public awareness initiatives to reduce the intimidation factor of assessing infants. By recruiting a doctor of optometry to be an InfantSEE advocate in each state, the program has the potential to champion children’s eye care regionally and nationally.  

The program will grow in 2024 with enhanced promotion and resources for providers as well as a dedicated networking event at Optometry’s Meeting 2024. 

3) Call for National Pediatric Eye Health and Vision Mobilization

During Optometry’s Meeting, held in June, AOA President Ronald L. Benner, O.D., announced the Call for National Pediatric Eye Health and Vision Mobilization, an initiative that will work to remedy the pandemic’s acceleration of screen time and lack of access to community resources found in a traditional school environment. InfantSEE is poised as a crucial partner.  

"Not only has InfantSEE been an entry point for bringing comprehensive eye care to babies, but it has also fostered a new focus on children’s vision with the American Optometric Association leading the way. Providing comprehensive eye care for children from birth to 18 years is a must in today’s culture," says Glen Steele, O.D., a longtime InfantSEE supporter.  

Set to take place over multiple years of work, the campaign will garner support across various sectors of the industry to establish momentum and enact widespread mobilization. Through innovative and impactful strategies, the AOA and InfantSEE will work to shape the future of vision care in 2024.  

Looking to make an impact?  

Optometry Cares is a 501(c)(3) organization working to empower the optometric profession in providing awareness and access to health and vision care for the public.

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