Dr. Munson’s message: Spread the word about childhood eye exams

August is a busy month in our practices, particularly because of all the kids we see getting ready for school. Indeed, they are the lucky ones--the ones who have the resources for an eye examination and parents who understand the value of this important annual event.

"There is no reason why one in four children should ever again have an undiagnosed vision problem."

But what about the others? 

One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem that likely will limit their school performance. Now is the perfect time for you to get the word out--in your practice population and within your community--that eye examinations should be a regular part of a child's comprehensive medical care.

There is no better way to accomplish this than to get involved in your community or school district. Difficult? Not really. All it takes is a little imagination and a few introductions to the right people.

In 1989, only a year after opening our practice, a second-grade teacher from a local elementary school asked if I would lead a cow eye dissection for her class. Yes, second grade. 

So I agreed to do it, the word got out, I gradually expanded to several schools, and 24 years later, I am known as the "Cow Eye Guy" in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Certainly, I've been called worse.)

It has been an incredible opportunity to give a little back to my community and to share the great message about who we are and what we do as optometrists. Every year, both students and parents learn a little bit about their eyes, the profession of optometry, and the importance of proper eye care.

As the Affordable Care Act becomes a reality next year, so too will the essential pediatric vision benefit promising a comprehensive vision examination for all children under 19. There is no reason why one in four children should ever again have an undiagnosed vision problem. 

There is every reason why each of us should be championing the message of early and regular eye examinations.

-Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., AOA president

August 13, 2013

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