A recent story out of Rockford, Illinois serves as an important reminder to parents of the importance of early childhood eye exams.
As KFOR.com reports, Amy Fitzgerald noticed something about her 2-year-old son’s eye whenever he was looking into light. After doing a little research of her own she decided to try taking a photo of her son to see if his eye appeared discolored in pictures. Sure enough, his pupil appeared white in the photo and his mother immediately sought medical attention.
The diagnosis: tumors covered 75% of the boy’s eye which subsequently had to be removed. Doctors told the family that if they had waited much longer, the cancer may have spread to the brain or blood.
If no eye or vision problems are apparent infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at about 6 months of age. At that appointment the optometrist will test for things like:
- excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
- eye movement ability
- eye health problems
InfantSEE®, a public health program, managed by Optometry Cares® – the AOA Foundation, is designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an essential part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. Under this program, participating optometrists provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service. More information about InfantSEE® is available here.
Pediatric eye health care is also now an “Essential Health Benefit,” and must be offered by all new health plans as a distinct benefit from traditional well child care. More information about that can be found here.