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

h a child's ability to learn," said Charlotte Neilsen, O.D., president of the Illinois Optometric Association and a Grayslake optometrist. "The IOA is proud to support true leaders like Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers in the effort to make children's vision and classroom learning a top priority. Thanks to the General Assembly's leadership, Illinois now leads the nation with the best eye health care requirements for children."

Illinois joins Kentucky and Missouri as the third state in the nation requiring eye exams for children entering public schools. Since the Kentucky law requiring eye exams was enacted seven years ago, 13 percent of Kentucky children have been identified as needing corrective lenses, 3.4 percent diagnosed with amblyopia, and 2.3 percent diagnosed with strabismus.

"Vision disorders are considered the fourth most common disability in the United States, though many vision problems in children are preventable or treatable if caught early on," said Peter H. Kehoe, O.D., F.A.A.O., president-elect of the AOA and a Galesburg optometrist. "With nearly 25 percent of school-age children suffering from vision problems, this law is necessary to help detect problems and treat and prevent diseases that can cause vision loss."

Ten million children suffer from vision disorders, according to the National Parent Teacher Association. Nationally, about 86 percent of children entering first grade do not receive an eye exam. Comprehensive eye exams for children entering school are critical for the early intervention needed to treat diseases and disorders such as amblyopia ("lazy eye"), strabismus, retinoblastoma and other serious and potentially blinding problems that can lead to poor school performance that can ultimately affect quality of life.

A professional, comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is essential for the diagnosis and timely tre
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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