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InfantSEE Pediatric Vision ProgramInfantSEE Pediatric Vision Program
Dr. Malinda Pence, OD is one of a growing number of optometrists nationwide who are participating in InfantSEE TM, a no-cost public health program developed to provide professional eye care for infants. Under this program, supported by former President Jimmy Carter, who serves as honorary national chair and spokesman, Dr. Pence will provide a one-time, comprehensive eye assessment to infants in their first year of life, offering early detection of potential vision problems at no cost regardless of income.

“I’m very pleased to be involved in InfantSEETM to help ensure healthy vision for our Cincinnati area infants,” said Dr. Pence. “I have a young son and daughter myself and I know long-term ocular health may not be on a new parent’s mind, yet an infant wellness eye exam is a valuable component of a child’s first year primary care schedule.” Dr. Pence goes on to say, “The reaction to this program has been so positive, yet most parents don’t know that this program exists. My goal for 2008 is to raise awareness for InfantSEE TM because providing these assessments is such a rewarding way to volunteer my time.”

InfantSEE TM was launched in June 2005 by the American Optometric Association (AOA), in partnership with The Vision Care Institute of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Experts from AOA and American Public Health Association (APHA) agree that visual development is most dramatic between 6 and 12 months of age and that early detection can prevent and help reduce the threat of serious vision impairments. In fact, one in every 10 children is at risk from undiagnosed vision problems by the time they are 18 years of age.

However, a survey fielded by BabyCenter.com, on behalf of the AOA, reveals that nearly half of new and expectant mothers mistakenly believe that because a baby’s eyes are changing and their vision is developing in their first year of life, it is best to wait until the child is older to take them to an eyecare professional. This discrepancy suggests a gap in understanding about the importance of early intervention. If left untreated, eye and vision problems can impact learning and may lead to permanent vision impairment.

“As parents, we regularly take our children to the dentist to help prevent cavities. Likewise, we should take our babies to the optometrist to help prevent potential eye and vision problems,” said former President Carter. “Given my family’s experience managing vision problems that were not caught early, I strongly encourage all parents with babies to visit an optometrist for an InfantSEE TM assessment during the first year of their child’s life and I applaud AOA for providing parents this opportunity.”