“InfantSEE Week” raises awareness about infant eye health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 children are at risk from undiagnosed eye and vision problems. Even minor undetected vision problems can contribute to a decrease in a child’s quality of life and may lead to developmental and behavioral difficulties which impede classroom learning. Only 14 percent of children have had an eye exam prior to entering school, leaving those without this examination vulnerable to undetected vision and eye problems.
United Way of the Midlands, the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association and InfantSEE, a nationally recognized public health program that provides no-cost eye assessments for infants who are six to twelve months of age, hope to change this statistic.
“It’s important for parents to understand how a child’s health and wellness can impact their education,” said Cheryl Johnson Bejamin, Senior Director of the Health Council for United Way of the Midlands. “A child with vision problems or other health issues will have trouble focusing on the classroom. The sooner parents are aware of a potential health problem, the better.”
Early detection of vision problems is the best way to treat and prevent permanent vision impairment. InfantSEE seeks to bring awareness about eye and vision problems in infants by offering comprehensive eye assessments during the first year of life for infants.
“Many parents are surprised to learn how critical the first year of life is to a child’s visual development,” said Dr. Phillip Flynn IV, a South Carolina optometrist and InfantSEE provider. “It’s the optimal time to detect eye and vision problems before they worsen or cause developmental delays.”
Three local child care centers have agreed to host eye assessments during the week. Assessments will be available at Brookland Academy Child Development Center, First Nazareth Baptist Church and Washington United Methodist Church for children who attend these centers. All parents may schedule their child’s free assessment directly with a provider year-round. A list of participating providers can be found at www.infantsee.org.
Optometrists that participate in InfantSEE are members of the American Optometric Association, which includes the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association. Since InfantSEE’s inception, nearly 9,000 optometrists from across the nation have volunteered their time and expertise to participate in the program and provide eye care.
“Having spent many years working with children, there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing a happy, healthy child,” said Dr. John Brinkley, whose office has been a participating provider of InfantSEE since the beginning. “The InfantSEE program is a great opportunity for any parent to take advantage of and make a part of their baby’s annual heath care regimen. I am proud of my optometric colleagues for stepping up to the plate to provide this invaluable service to our communities at no cost.”