How you can ensure better vision for infant eyes

How you can ensure better vision for infant eyes

Optometrists have long suggested that eye exams be part of well-baby checkups.

"The more InfantSEE® providers there are in the country, the more we can raise awareness and impact more babies' lives."

InfantSEE®, an Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation program, takes steps toward that goal by ensuring vision and eye care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child's life.

Through the program, AOA-member ODs, who choose to become InfantSEE providers, offer no-cost comprehensive eye exams to infants, up to 1 year of age.

Kimberly Walker, O.D., has been an InfantSEE provider since 2006 and began participating in the program during her residency at State University of New York College of Optometry.

"The program changes lives," Dr. Walker says. "The InfantSEE exam is much more comprehensive than what a baby receives with the pediatrician, where problems are often missed. It's surprising how many parents and other health care providers still are unaware of the importance of an eye examination for their baby."

Impacting development through vision correction
Dr. Walker recalls a particularly memorable case involving the examination of 10-month-old twins through the InfantSEE program.

The mother of the fraternal twins wasn't anticipating any vision problems. She had, however, noticed that while the girl twin was crawling, standing and about to walk, the boy had not yet crawled. He was also not interacting in baby play groups.

"I noticed from the beginning of the exam I was dealing with two totally different babies," Dr. Walker says. "I examined the baby girl first, and she was a very developmentally typical baby with all findings being normal."

The boy, however, was uninterested in fixation targets. Dr. Walker soon discovered he had extremely high hyperopia and had poor vision and visual skills for his age. She prescribed glasses on the first visit, given his high refractive errors and developmental delay.

"Even in the first follow-up visit, the mother was amazed at the differences she observed in her son. Soon enough, he began to crawl around and was quickly catching up with his sister developmentally," says Dr. Walker.

"When his vision was uncorrected, he didn't have the motivation to crawl, he had a poor view of the world around him and didn't see anything worth exploring," she adds.

Dr. Walker believes the InfantSEE program gives optometrists the opportunity to affect a child's development.

"The more InfantSEE providers there are in the country, the more we can raise awareness and impact more babies' lives," Dr. Walker says.

"On a personal note, being an InfantSEE provider is so rewarding. I am so excited when I see InfantSEE exams on my schedule. The babies are so amazing to interact with and the families are so appreciative of the services which you provide," she adds.

Make a difference by donating both funds and expertise

  • Give back to families in your community by becoming an InfantSEE provider.

  • Include InfantSEE®, a program of Optometry Cares®—the AOA Foundation, in your end-of-year giving.

November 26, 2014

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