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Doctors of Optometry, Parents, Educators and Legislators Applaud New Illinois Law Requiring Comprehensive Eye Exams for Children Starting School
Date:5/21/2008

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Only licensed optometrists or ophthalmologists are qualified to conduct the eye exams under the new law. Proof of the required eye examination must be submitted by Oct. 15 of each school year. Additional vision examinations at various grade levels may be required when deemed necessary by school authorities.

"We know that healthy vision is essential for learning," said Charlotte Nielsen, O.D., president of the Illinois Optometric Association and a Grayslake optometrist. "All Illinois children deserve the tools they need to fulfill their potential, and our students will benefit from this law. We thank Sen. Demuzio and Rep. Tracy for their leadership on children's eye health."

Illinois joins Kentucky and Missouri as the third state in the nation requiring eye exams for children entering public schools.

"I am proud to say that Illinois is leading the nation with the best children's eye health requirements," said co-sponsor Rep. Jil Tracy. "This law demonstrates our commitment to children's vision and the role it plays in helping children learn and do well in school."

Illinois teachers were strong advocates for the law, recognizing the important role eye exams by qualified eye doctors plays in a child's academic success.

"Children suffer unnecessarily when they can't see as well in the classroom," said Steve Preckwinkle, director of political activities for the Illinois Federation of Teachers. "The eye exam requirement should be considered an important piece of the ready-for-school routine, just like well child check-ups, immunizations and other traditions."

Healthy vision for children means more than just seeing clearly. The eyes must be able to:

* Work together as a team

* Move accurately across a page and shift quickly from one object to

another

* Work together with the hands

* Focus at proper distances and change focus quickly; and

* Be aware of objects on either
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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