Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sasha Asks: Your PSA

Today's question is "What is your PSA?"

Mine is "Take Your Baby For An Eye Exam ASAP"

Do you know about the InfantSEE program? Oh, how I wish I did when my children were babies! This program provides a cost-free vision exam for babies before their first birthday.

InfantSEE®, a public health program, managed by Optometry Cares® - The AOA Foundation, is designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child's quality of life. Under this program, AOA optometrists provide a comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants within the first year of life regardless of a family's income or access to insurance coverage.

Some readers know about P's vision impairment- but if you don't, he was diagnosed with Exotropia at the beginning of this year- at age 7. It's been a difficult year filled with a eye muscle surgery on both eyes, weekly vision therapy for the past 21 weeks, and twice-a-week hour-long multi-sensory reading tutoring. We've come a long way, but still have farther to go, and we aren't sure what the final outcome will be. Will he always be visually impaired? How will this affect his ability to learn in school, and what about normal life thing like driving?

I struggle everyday wondering, "What if we had caught it earlier?" Honestly, I don't know. He had all his regular well-child visits, and nothing was ever noticed during those exams. I even took him for a visual exam with a local opthamologist before K and it wasn't caught then either.

This paragraph from the InfantSEE website echoed my thoughts: Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter have pledged their support for the program for a very important, personal reason: They have two grandchildren with amblyopia. For one grandchild, the condition went undetected until he was well into grade school, when classroom difficulties made the condition apparent. Had a program like InfantSEE® been in place then, he may have been treated with far less effort and would have found academic success sooner.

So my PSA to you, and everyone you know, is PLEASE PLEASE take your baby for an InfantSEE exam with an optometrist. They are better trained to locate these types of problems. If you are local and want a recommendation, we have a wonderful pediatric optometrist who is trained in pediatric optometry and vision therapy and rehab.

If you missed the opportunity for the free exam, I still encourage you to have your child examined by an InfantSEE doctor. You don't understand how much your child's vision affects their learning experience until you go through something like we have.

I'd love to read about your personal experiences and your PSA- leave it in the comments, or blog about it and leave a link.

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