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U.S. Senator Kit Bond Receives 2010 AOA Health Care Leadership Award
Date:3/9/2010

Optometrists Recognize Efforts to Safeguard Sight, Promote Healthy Vision for Children and Expand Access to Care

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) has been recognized for providing important leadership on health care policy issues and working to increase access to vision and eye health care by doctors of optometry from his state and their national organization, the American Optometric Association (AOA). 

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100309/DC67913)

"Sen. Bond is a true leader in Congress on health care issues," said Randolph E. Brooks, O.D., AOA president.  "He listens to the concerns of doctors and patients from across his state, and is a worthy recipient of the 2010 AOA Health Care Leadership Award."

The AOA and the Missouri Optometric Association continue to work with Sen. Bond to pass key legislation.  The legislation now before Congress is designed to safeguard sight, promote healthy vision among school-aged children and ensure access to much-needed primary eye and vision care. 

"I'm proud of Sen. Bond and the work that he's doing in Congress for our communities," said Tom Cullinane, O.D. of Creve Coeur, MO.  "My patients and I know that Sen. Bond is committed to making sure health care is a top priority in Washington, D.C. and that important bills like the Vision Care for Kids Act are passed and signed into law."

The AOA-backed Vision Care for Kids Act (HR 577) was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 31, 2009.  The measure would establish a federal grant program aimed at bolstering children's vision and learning initiatives developed by the states. Sen. Bond is the lead sponsor of companion legislation in the U.S. Senate (S.259), which is now pending before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Sen. Bond has also been a lead supporter of the AOA's InfantSEE® initiative -- a no-cost public health program developed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide. Through InfantSEE®, optometrists provide a one-time, comprehensive eye and vision assessment to infants between the ages of 6 and 12 months, offering early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no-cost, regardless of income or insurance coverage. Parents can learn more at www.infantsee.org.

"Unfortunately I know all too well just how important early identification is since a condition that went undiagnosed when I was a child has led to permanent vision loss in my right eye.  Through their work with the InfantSEE® program, Missouri's optometrists are an important part of the solution to helping children across the state avoid conditions like mine," said Sen. Bond. "Last year I was also proud to reintroduce with Senator Dodd the Vision Care for Kids Act to combat undiagnosed and untreated vision problems in children. Support by Missouri's optometrists has been critical and I will continue to work with the vision community to bring attention to this important issue."

About the American Optometric Association

American Optometric Association (AOA) 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 AOA 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 www.aoa.org.

SOURCE American Optometric Association

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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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