American Optometric Association Set to Celebrate Successful First 100 Days of ACA’s Pediatric Eye Health Benefit

Health and education leaders aim to discuss growing impact of new essential benefit, strategies for expanding eye care access to all U.S. children

Washington, D.C. (April 24, 2014)—The new comprehensive pediatric eye health essential benefit is being viewed as a major success since its nationwide launch almost four months ago. And in the coming years, the benefit has the potential to change the lives of millions of children who suffer from undiagnosed and untreated vision problems, according to a survey of doctors of optometry who provided input into the process to shape the benefit and are now seeing covered children.

Doctors, educators and children's health advocates will meet with government officials to analyze the success of the new pediatric eye health essential benefit established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how to further educate parents, teachers and school officials about children's eye and vision care at a forum to be held in Washington, D.C. The Healthy Vision 2014: The First 100 Days of Essential Pediatric Eye Health Coverage forum will focus on:

  • Children's eye health care as a required and fully integrated element of health insurance coverage.
  • The definition of the benefit-in 48 states and Washington, D.C.-as an annual comprehensive eye exam, with treatment and follow-up care from birth to age 18.

Survey and questionnaire results will also be released, demonstrating the benefit's reach to previously uninsured or underinsured families and spotlighting the delivery of care to children with undiagnosed and untreated vision problems. 

The "Healthy Vision 2014" forum is sponsored by HOYA.

"HOYA is proud to sponsor the AOA's efforts on behalf of our kids," said Barney Dougher, President and CEO of HOYA Vision Care, North America. "Families can now visit their local independent eye care provider, receive the best services, and if necessary, eyewear materials available."

Children's eye care is a top priority for the AOA, as countless children have been left failing to meet developmental milestones early in life and later struggling in the classroom due to undiagnosed and untreated vision problems.

"Comprehensive eye exams must serve as the foundation for an improved approach aimed at better addressing children's unmet vision and eye health needs, ensuring school readiness," said Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., President, AOA Board of Trustees.

Gregory W. Hicks, O.D., HOYA's Director of Professional Affairs, added, "We live in a visual world; our kids are always plugged in and school books are now on tablets. According to Neil Fleming's VARK model, we know there are three different ways people learn. Most people are a combination of visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners; however, about 65 percent of people are mainly visual learners. The importance of vision care for children throughout their scholastic careers is vital to their success."

The forum will be held in the Grand Ballroom (Salon II, III & IV) at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 28 from 9:20 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

For more information or to confirm attendance, please contact Kelli White at 800-365-2219, ext.1347, or by email at kwhite@aoa.org.  

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):

The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit www.aoa.org.

 # # #