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Most Don’t Know Infants Need Eye Exam

ST. LOUIS (UPI) — Most U.S. adults are unaware 10 percent of infants has an undetected vision problem, if left untreated, could lead to vision problems, optometrists said.

Only 18 percent of parents who participated in the American Optometric Association’s American Eye-Q survey reported taking their infant to an eye doctor for a comprehensive assessment before the child’s first birthday, as recommended.

Dr. Glen Steele, optometrist and chairman of the InfantSEE committee, said an infant’s visual development is critical between six and 12 months of age.

InfantSEE is a year-round public health program developed by Optometry Cares — The American Optometric Association Foundation, Vistakon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. — designed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide at no-cost, regardless of family income, insurance or number of eligible children, Steele said.

“It’s difficult to notice vision problems in infants without a thorough, comprehensive eye exam,” Steele said in a statement. “Even if a child is hitting all his or her developmental milestones and not showing any signs of problems, there could still be issues with the child’s vision. Identifying problems and beginning treatment as early as possible is key.”

The survey indicated most parents were aware that lazy eye and crossed eyes could be detected in infants but less than one-third were aware that cancer, farsightedness and nearsightedness could also be detected during an infant exam.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. parents was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates from May 19-23. The margin of error was at the 95 percent confidence level.

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