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Des Moines-Area Optometrists Partner With Sens. Harkin and Grassley; U.S. House Leaders in Improving Infant Eye and Vision Care

No-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments provided by InfantSEE(R) Program

DES MOINES, Iowa, March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems across the United States, Des Moines and surrounding area optometrists are devoting appointments to no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants between six to 12 months of age through InfantSEE(R). InfantSEE(R), a public health program developed by the American Optometric Association (AOA) in partnership with The Vision Care Institute(TM), LLC a Johnson & Johnson company, was designed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide at no-cost, regardless of family income or number of eligible children.

"InfantSEE(R) is doing much more than identifying and treating risk factors that may cause eye and vision problems later in the life," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). "They are taking prevention to a new level to ensure healthier, thriving children and lower health care costs down the road."

"I hope Iowa parents take advantage of this free public service to have their babies screened for potential vision problems," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). "Taking your children to see the doctor regularly promotes wellness and can help detect and prevent serious health issues."

Leading members of the U.S. House of Representatives delegation from Iowa have also expressed their support for the InfantSEE(R) program. Reps. Tom Latham (R-IA), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Steve King (R-IA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Bruce Braley (D-IA) urged local parents to have their infant's eyes assessed during InfantSEE(R) Week.

To encourage parents to take advantage of the InfantSEE(R) program and to help protect infant vision and eye health, Governor Chet Culver has officially declared Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27 InfantSEE(R) Week in the state of Iowa.

One in 10 children are at risk from undiagnosed eye and vision problems, which, if undetected, could lead to permanent vision impairment, and in rare cases, life-threatening health risks. However, only 14 percent of children from infancy to age six have had a comprehensive eye assessment from an eye care professional. In Des Moines and surrounding areas, great strides are being made to ensure that potential eye and vision problems are detected early. Infant eye assessments have been available in Iowa since the InfantSEE(R) program launched in 2005.

"Many parents are surprised to learn that the first year of life is one of the most critical stages of a child's visual development," said Dr. Beth Triebel, a Des Moines-area optometrist and InfantSEE(R) provider. "It's the ideal time to detect eye and vision problems before these conditions worsen or cause developmental delays."

The program launched in 2005 with support from former President Jimmy Carter, honorary national chair. Nearly 8,000 optometrists nationwide volunteer their time to provide assessments to babies in their communities. The majority of vision problems detected included retinoblastoma (eye cancer), severe hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), congenital glaucoma and congenital cataract.

"There was no specific reason to believe that my daughter had any vision or eye health problems, but I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that my daughter was healthy and developing well," said Lee Pietzsch, a mother whose daughter had an InfantSEE(R) assessment. "The InfantSEE(R) assessment gave me peace of mind. It is my hope that in the near future, a visit to an optometrist will become as important to parents as a routine well-care exam that an infant receives."

To continue to improve infant eye assessment rates in Des Moines and surrounding areas, the following eye care providers will offer no-cost InfantSEE(R) eye assessments from March 23 to 27, by appointment:

    Dr. Kristie Semrow
    3800 W. Lincoln Way

    Dr. Jim Schroder
    111 NW 9th St.

    Dr. Steve Sloan
    Dr. Martha Smith
    103 N. Riverview Dr.
    (563) 872-5975

    Dr. Jim Barker
    718 Story St.

    Dr. Casey Roelfs
    621 Story St.

    CORALVILLE  (Near Iowa City)
    Dr. Katalin Hotsenpiller
    1150 5th St., Ste. 160

    Dr. Ethan Huisman
    12871 University Ave., Ste. 140

    Dr. Don McKim
    1610 W Townline St., Ste.115

    Dr. James W. Hartzell
    Dr. Blaine R. Brunsen
    2628 Beaver Ave.

    Dr. Steve Sloan
    Dr. Martha Smith
    505 Cedar Cross Rd.
    (563) 556-3937

    Dr. Daniel Reedy
    2217 Main St.
    (712) 852-2979

    Dr. Jeff Foreman
    1511 1st Ave. S

    Dr. Kristin Maus
    914 Ave. G

    Dr. Robert A. Weiland
    107 NE 2nd St.

    Dr. Mark T. Mentzer
    Dr. Patrick J. Fleming
    2200 Blairs Ferry Crossing

    Dr. Daniel Reedy
    Hwy 169 N
    (515) 332-2020

    Dr. Jonathan Anderson
    225 W. Ashland, Ste. 1

    Dr. Becky DeRuyter
    1111 Holton Dr.

    Dr. Tara Cooper
    Dr. Abie Chadderdon
    Dr. Connie Feldman
    501 E. Main St.

    Dr. Ralph DeHaan
    823 Franklin St.

    Dr. Del Spronk
    Dr. Harlan Vander Griend
    928 3rd Ave.

    Dr. Melissa Billings
    Dr. Wendy Muller
    Dr. Beth Triebel
    2699 86th St.

    Dr. Wendianne M. Wilson
    4660 86th St.

    Dr. Barbara Scheetz
    5958 Ashworth Rd.

    Dr. Joseph W. Johll
    102 N. 1st Ave.

InfantSEE(R) assessments are complementary to the routine well-care exams a baby receives from a pediatrician or family physician. Optometrists have the training to identify areas of risk that are critical to vision development and the skills to identify conditions that might not be detected in a routine pediatric wellness exam. In some cases, conditions may need to be monitored, immediately treated or referred to a pediatric eye specialist.

To learn more about InfantSEE(R), visit

About InfantSEE(R)

InfantSEE(R) is a public health program managed by Optometry's Charity(TM) ? the AOA Foundation. Designed to ensure that eye and vision care become an integral part of infant wellness and improve a child's quality of life, doctors of optometry provide one eye and vision assessment to infants free-of-charge regardless of socioeconomic status. For more information visit

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 36,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in nearly 6,500 communities across the country. For more information, visit

About The Vision Care Institute

The Vision Care Institute of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. is an innovative educational resource created to prepare optometry students for a successful transition into the real world of delivering quality eye care, as well as to assist practicing Eye Care Professionals in the growth and development of their practice. The state-of-the-art facility gives participants a rare opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the latest in vision diagnostic and treatment technologies through hands-on contact lens instruction. Besides clinical training, participants also concentrate on communication skills. The curriculum, taught by leading eye care practitioners from around the country, gives participants the skills and confidence necessary to excel in today's professional practice. The Vision Care Institute has hosted students from all 19 of the schools and colleges of optometry throughout North America at its headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Contact:  Julie Mahoney
              American Optometric Association
              (314) 991-4100 x4176

              Madonna Duncan
              Hill & Knowlton
              (312) 255-3143

SOURCE American Optometric Association; InfantSEE
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