Posted: Fullerton, CA, September 25, 2012
InfantSEE®, a program administered by Optometry Cares – The American Optometric Association (AOA) Foundation, has been honored by the Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO), with its distinguished V-Award for Special Program Achievement. The national public health program was recognized at SCCOs Shared Visions Gala and V-Awards on September 20 at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, CA, for its support of vision care for infants.
The President of the American Optometric Association, Ronald L. Hopping, O.D., M.P.H., accepted the V-Award from SCCO President Kevin L. Alexander, O.D., Ph.D., and SCCO Chairman, Board of Trustees Gene D. Calkins, O.D., J.D.
InfantSEE® is a national public health program designed to provide a no-cost comprehensive vision assessment to infants six to 12 months of age regardless of household income or insurance availability. InfantSEE® celebrated its seventh anniversary in June 2012. Currently, there are more than 7,600 AOA-member volunteers who provide InfantSEE® assessments in all 50 states. Since the program's inception 14,000 infants have been served on average, per year.
What has become the largest public health program dedicated to the eye, InfantSEE's initial start-up and on-going funding has been received from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (Vistakon); and two Federal appropriations were received through Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The Allergan Foundation has also provided generous support for InfantSEE® events held at the schools and colleges of optometry.
The InfantSEE® program has provided groundbreaking data supporting the prevalence of infant vision issues and the role of optometric eye exams. In 2005, historical data suggested that an eye problem would be detected in one of every 14 infants examined. In 2007, that number grew to one in every nine infants, and in 2009 the rate increased to one in six.
Currently the InfantSEE® Program is administering another study through the Health Resources and Services Administration where infant populations in eight states will be assessed and evaluated. Collection of such demographic information as zip codes and annual income further allow data to be analyzed and segmented to determine if there are geographical influences or socio-economic issues that contribute to eye health issues in infants. This work represents nearly $1 million that Congress has awarded to InfantSEE to investigate the significance and far-reaching impact of infant visual health in the United States.
The Southern California College of Optometry's eye care centers in Fullerton and Los Angeles are InfantSEE® program providers.