One in 20 infants (5%) is at risk for an abnormal prescription status, while one in 14 infants (7%) require careful follow-up or referral to a specialist.

These findings from the American Optometric Associations InfantSEE program were presented last month at the AOAs 109th Annual Congress in Las Vegas, where the AOA also installed its 2006-2007 officers.

If it were one in 114, it would be hard to make the case for infant exams, but with one in 20, not many parents would want to take that chance, says InfantSEE Chair Scott Jens, O.D.

InfantSEE, which was created in partnership between the AOA and the Vision Care Institute of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., is a no-cost public health program in which optometrists provide infants with a one-time comprehensive eye assessment.

More than 7,300 optometrists examined nearly 50,000 infants during InfantSEEs first year. The AOA analyzed 5,000 cases. The AOA also reported these statistics:

          One in 10 children are at risk for undiagnosed vision problems.
          One in 30 will be affected by amblyopia.
          One in 25 will develop strabismus.

          One in 33 will show significant refractive error.

          One in 100 will exhibit evidence of eye disease.

          One in 20,000 will have retinoblastoma.

The AOAs goal is for doctors to perform 100,000 infant assessments in 2006 and 250,000 in 2007, Dr. Jens says. The AOA hopes to collect additional data on vision problems found during these assessments.


A Look Back

Also at the Congress, the AOA swore in optometrist C. Thomas Crooks III as its new president. Dr. Crooks succeeds Richard L. Wallington Jr, O.D., in this role.

Looking back over the past year, Dr. Wallingford considers these events among the highlights:

         Passage of the Decorative Contact Lens Bill (S.172), requiring the FDA to regulate plano contact lenses as medical devices.
         Defeat of S.1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act, which would extend ERISAs preemption to cover the small group insurance market. If passed, it might have led to discrimination against O.D.s on insurance panels, he says.
         The AOA and its members as a primary source of information

during the recent outbreak of Fusarium keratitis among contact lens wearers. [This] showed optometry and the AOA as being the contact lens specialists and corneal specialists, he says.

Dr. Crooks says his goals for the coming year include making the AOA even more active at the federal level, finding ways to improve contact lens prescription verification and finding ways to promote private practice among younger O.D.s.

Also on Dr. Crooks agenda: the third of a series of summits to help determine the preferred state of optometry in the year 2020 and beyond. Dr. Crooks is chairing the summit.

Other officers installed at this years meeting were optometrists Kevin Alexander as president-elect, Peter Kehoe as vice president, Randolph Brooks as secretary/treasurer, and Dori Carlson and Mitchell Munson as trustees.

Vol. No: 143:07Issue: 7/15/2006