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Doctors of Optometry Applaud New Law Requiring Eye Exams for Illinois Children
Date:10/10/2007

General Assembly passes legislation to ensure only qualified eye doctors

can perform eye exams for children starting school

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- With the support of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Optometric Association, the General Assembly passed SB 641 into law today, requiring comprehensive eye examinations for children entering kindergarten or enrolling for the first time in public, private, or parochial elementary schools in Illinois. Acting on behalf of students, parents and teachers, the General Assembly overrode Gov. Rod Blagojevich's amendatory veto, making sure that important improvements in children's eye health care are enacted.

The amendatory veto would have allowed various health professionals who are not specifically trained in the eye and who may not have the appropriate equipment to perform eye exams. The General Assembly rejected that approach, insisting that only qualified eye doctors -- such as optometrists and ophthalmologists -- can conduct exams.

"Clear and comfortable vision is essential for learning, and this new law will help Illinois children succeed and reach their full potential," Ed Geppert, Jr., president of the IFT, said. "This measure will help children read and see chalkboards more clearly. All Illinois children deserve the tools they need to fulfill their potential, and our students will benefit from this law."

The new law takes effect January 1, 2008, requiring eye exams within one year prior to kindergarteners starting school in the fall, and for all students who are entering a school in Illinois for the first time. 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.

"Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to diagnose eye and vision problems in children early, before they interfere wit
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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