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Madison-Area Optometrists Partner With Senator Kohl in Improving Infant Eye and Vision Care

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

MADISON, Wis., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems across the United States, Madison and surrounding area optometrists are devoting appointments to no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for babies 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 of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., was designed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide at no-cost, regardless of family income or number of eligible children.

"I have always been a big proponent of programs that deliver the health care and nutritional services children require in order to get a strong start in life," said U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). "I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the InfantSEE(R) program, which will be providing no-cost comprehensive vision assessments to infants in southern Wisconsin. These screenings will go a long way toward getting these young children the vision care they need."

To encourage local parents to take advantage of the InfantSEE(R) program and to help protect infant vision and eye health, Governor Jim Doyle has officially declared Monday, January 26 through Friday, January 30 InfantSEE(R) Week in Southern Central Wisconsin.

"I am proud to proclaim InfantSEE(R) Week as part of Wisconsin's commitment to children's health and wellness," said Gov. Jim Doyle. "I encourage parents to take advantage of this public health program to help protect their infants' vision and eye health."

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 Madison 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 the Madison area 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. Scott Jens, a Madison-area optometrist and chairman of InfantSEE(R). "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. In 2007, the majority of vision problems detected include retinoblastoma (eye cancer), severe hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), congenital glaucoma and congenital cataract.

"There was no specific reason to believe that my son had any vision or eye health problems, but I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that my son was healthy and developing well," said Kara Webber Schiro, a Madison mother whose son 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 South Central Wisconsin, the following eye care providers will offer no-cost InfantSEE(R) eye assessments from January 26 to 30, by appointment:

    Dr. Gene Prudhon
    1005 17th St.

    Dr. Trixie Eakin
    Dr. Julia Edwards
    101 S. Main St.

    Dr. Kenneth Morrison
    1221 E. Phoenix St.

    Dr. Jacob Schoehenberger
    114 S. Madison St.

    Dr. Tucker Webb
    1205 Suffolk Dr.

    Dr. John Bonsett-Veal
    425 W. Washington Ave.

    Dr. Nathan Catterson
    102 W. Towne Mall

    Dr. Constance Copeland
    3225 E. Washington

    Dr. David P. Nelson
    4228 E. Towne Rd.

    Dr. David W. Nelson
    7428 Mineral Point Rd.

    Dr. Thomas Steinhauer
    2725 Marshall Ct.

    Dr. Barbara Switala
    53 W. Towne Mall

    Dr. Victor Connors
    Dr. Scott Jens
    7601 University Ave., Ste. 102

    Dr. Timothy Wilson
    2101 Royal Ave.

    Dr. David Bjork
    712 E. Summit Ave.

    Dr. Randy Prestash
    608 E. Summit Ave.

    Dr. Tami Hunt
    301 S. Main St.

    Dr. Callie Enyart
    185 W. Netherwood St.

    Dr. Joe Prell
    251 Second St.

    Dr. Richard Wright
    1455 W. Main St.

    Dr. David James
    185 W. Netherwood St.

    Dr. Lance Engdahl
    615 E. Main St., Ste. A

    Dr. David May
    249 S. Century 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 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; The Vision Care Institute
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