Surgeon General Meets with Optometry on Impact of InfantSEE(TM)

A delegation from the American
Optometric Association met last Friday with U.S. Surgeon General Richard H.
Carmona, M.D., M.P.H, America’s chief health educator, to provide a detailed
briefing on InfantSEE(TM), a new public health program aimed at the earliest
possible diagnosis of a potential eye and vision problems in children through
a no-cost assessment by an optometrist, and an update on the impact of the
initiative since its nationwide launch two weeks ago. The InfantSEE(TM)
program involves the voluntary efforts and donated expertise of thousands of
participating Doctors of Optometry in all 50 states. President Jimmy Carter is
the Honorary Chairman of InfantSEE(TM) and is serving as the national

“I commend the American Optometric Association for their efforts to
improve the health and well being of all Americans, and I look forward to
partnering with AOA to advance the 2005 agenda of the Office of the Surgeon
General: ‘The Year of the Healthy Child,'” said Dr. Carmona. “I particularly
want to thank the nearly 7,000 optometrists nationwide who are participating
in InfantSEE(TM).for all they are doing to provide much-needed eye care
services to America’s children.”

“President Bush and Dr. Carmona have demonstrated consistent leadership on
children’s health concerns. Optometry is proud to be working closely with this
administration, at the highest levels, to ensure that no child will be plagued
by a preventable eye or vision problem,” said Peter Kehoe, O.D. “Friday’s
meeting in the Surgeon General’s office makes it clear that optometrists,
through the InfantSEE(TM) initiative and the primary eye care we’re delivering
in communities across America, are committed to ensuring that 2005 and every
year to follow will be the year of the healthy child.”

Although infants cannot respond verbally, the first year of life is an
ideal time to conduct an extensive eye assessment. Not only is this a critical
time for eye and vision development, but generally children at this age do not
yet fear doctor visits and find the assessment painless and often enjoyable.

Typically, infants sit on their parent’s lap during the assessment, in
which the optometrist uses lights and other hand held objects to check that
their eyes are working together and that there are no significant refractive
issues that will impede proper vision development. The optometrist may also
use drops or a spray to dilate the baby’s pupils to ensure the health of the

As part of the national launch, former President Carter, who serves as
honorary national chair and spokesman for InfantSEE(TM), issued a call-to-
action through a public service announcement (PSA), which will educate parents
about InfantSEE(TM) and urge them to take advantage of the program. The PSA
cites his personal experience regarding his grandchildren’s eye problems.

granddaughter was diagnosed and treated as a toddler for amblyopia, often
referred to as lazy eye, a leading cause of vision loss in people younger than
45, which will affect one in 30 children. His grandson’s amblyopia was not
identified until grade school and may never be fully corrected.

To learn more about InfantSEE(TM), call toll-free (888) 396-EYES (3937) or
visit infantsee.

About the American Optometric Association

American Optometric Association doctors of optometry are highly qualified,
trained doctors, on the frontline of eye health and vision care, who examine,
diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to
providing eye and vision care, optometrists play a major role in an
individual’s overall health and well being by detecting systemic diseases.
Doctors of optometry have the skills and training to provide more than two-
thirds of all primary eye care in the United States. The American Optometric
Association represents more than 34,000 doctors of optometry, optometry
students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in nearly 6,500
communities across the country. For more information, visit

American Optometric Association