(this post was originally meant as a Monday morning link round up. Life happened, and now it is neither Monday, nor is it morning. So while I was at it, I dropped the link round up part, too, as I think it stands on its own as a regular post).
It’s likely that if you’re reading this, your child has had an eye exam, and you understand the importance of catching and treating vision problems early. But a 2009 survey by VSP and Prevent Blindness America found that almost two thirds of American children under the age of 6 have never had an eye exam by an eye doctor. I don’t know what the numbers are for other countries, if anyone has numbers, I’d love to see them.
Given the number of questions that I’ve fielded from complete strangers about Zoe’s vision and her glasses, I think those of us with young kids in glasses are in a great position to get the word out about the importance of eye exams and treatment for our children. Simply talking to other parents about why our children wear glasses, and how eye exams work for young children can help others see why they’re important.
Recently, though, I’ve come across a number of examples of larger organizations helping parents to get the word out to a wider audience.
- InfantSEE, a program run by the American Optometric Association, provides free eye exams to infants age 6 – 12 months. Suzi, whose son Emory’s cataracts were caught at an InfantSEE appointment, has given interviews to a local newspaper and news station (her segment is right after the part about car seats, about 1 minute in to the clip) about the InfantSEE program and importance of catching vision problems early. Other parents who have experience with InfantSEE and who would like to share their story are encouraged to email JMMahoney @ aoa . org (remove the spaces) with their story.
- Children’s Eye Foundation, the foundation of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, is dedicated to eliminating preventable childhood blindness. They have a “Little Ambassadors” program to help raise awareness for early detection and treatment of vision issues. The current featured video is Jack’s story (Jack’s mother, Lindsay shared her son’s journey with us this past October, and she blogs at Jack’s Journey). Children’s Eye Foundation is also happy to help other parents create ambassador videos to share their stories.(and I’ll pause here to take a moment to note the cuteness of both boys featured in those two links above)
- Vision First Foundation – The Vision First Foundation is committed to children’s eye and vision examinations. They are looking for short stories (125 words or less) that they will post on their website. Go here for more information.
- Little Four Eyes – and I’ll just do a little self promotion here. We are always happy to publish your story about your child’s vision, in fact, I love sharing our stories here. And I know that people find our stories here when searching the web for information about children and vision issues.
You do such a great job with this site. I’m so glad I found it in the early stages of Jack’s diagnosis and I can’t wait to see what else you all do!
So, so, so thankful for this site and for Lindsay and her blog. These have been the two things that have helped me the most with finding out that our son has cataracts. We are one surgery down, one to go. As much as I hate for anyone to go throuuh things like this, it is nice to know you are not alone. Thank you both.
This morning I was shocked to learn that my daughter Katelyn is severely farsighted. At 2 1/2 she has never shown any signs of not being able to see something clearly so we thought the failed Sure-Sight test was just a fluke and was following up just to be on the safe side. I immediately started searching for toddlers & glasses and found this website. I appreciate all the good information I have been able to find–it has put me at ease!
I must say however that I feel insurance company policies are surely to blame for more children not being diagnosed until they reach elementary school. When the nurse at my pediatrician said “At their 2 year appointment we recommend you do a vision test. However your insurance may not cover it, so you will have to pay the $75 fee.” Had we been in a poor financial way, as many poeple are in this country, I might have put it off. After all, she was showing no signs that she was having vision problems. How in good conscience can insurance companies not cover something so basic? Anyway, thank you again for all the information!
Welcome Laura! I’m glad you found us. Keep us updated on how your Katelyn is doing!
That’s very interesting about the insurance, and I think you’re right that it surely is not helping to catch children who need glasses if insurance won’t cover the testing. I know our insurance will cover eye exams but not glasses. I find it completely unconscionable – the most common vision problems are ones that are easily and cheaply corrected (well, glasses aren’t cheap for us, but compare them to the costs of some prescription drugs or surgeries, and all of a sudden, they’re a bargain), and ones that early treatment is vital in preventing vision loss. Ahh, now you’re getting me all riled up!