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West Virginia Optometrists Partner With Sens. Byrd and Rockefeller, U.S. House Leaders in Improving Infant Eye and Vision Care

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems across the United States, West Virginia optometrists are devoting appointments to no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants between six to 12 months of age through InfantSEE(R). InfantSEE(R), a public health program developed by Optometry's Charity(TM) - The AOA Foundation in partnership with The Vision Care Institute(TM), LLC a Johnson & Johnson company, was designed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide at no-cost, regardless of family income or number of eligible children.

The InfantSEE(R) Weeks project is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by a direct appropriation sponsored by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.). A long-time advocate for advancing the health and well-being of all West Virginians, Sen. Byrd championed the InfantSEE(R) program after learning of the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems in the Mountain State and across America.

"Many parents of newborns do not know that the most dramatic development of a child's visual system occurs within the first year of life," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.). "And it is through early detection and treatment of potential problems that parents can help ensure poor vision and eye health does not severely affect their child's ability to learn and place them at a disadvantage in education and in life. That is why I have put my full support behind the InfantSEE(R) program and worked to secure federal resources to help our Mountain State optometrists, and their colleagues around the country, expand the scope and impact of this great program. I encourage all parents to take advantage of the InfantSEE(R) program and to make a lifetime of eye and vision health a top priority for the whole family."

"This free, early detection and prevention program is a great resource for West Virginia families, and I urge all parents to take advantage of the InfantSEE(R) Week for free comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants," said Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV (D-W.Va.) "I am a strong believer in making sure our children have access to quality, affordable care, and InfantSEE(R) is doing a great service by making this available at no cost to families."

Leading members of the U.S. House of Representatives delegation from West Virginia have also expressed their support for the InfantSEE(R) program. Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Nick J. Rahall, II (D-W.Va.) urged local parents to have their infant's eyes assessed during InfantSEE(R) Week.

To encourage parents to take advantage of the InfantSEE(R) program and to help protect infant vision and eye health, Governor Joe Manchin has officially declared Monday, May 4 through Friday, May 15 InfantSEE(R) Week in West Virginia.

"I am proud to be involved with InfantSEE(R) Week as part of West Virginia's commitment to children's health and wellness," said First Lady, Gayle Manchin. "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 West Virginia, great strides are being made to ensure that potential eye and vision problems are detected early. Infant eye assessments have been available in West Virginia 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. Gary Veronneau, a West Virginia optometrist and InfantSEE(R) provider. "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. The majority of vision problems detected included retinoblastoma (eye cancer), severe hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), congenital glaucoma and congenital cataract.

"As a parent, one of my biggest concerns is making sure my child's development is on track," said Marsha Burke, local mother of Rebekah, now age 3. "When I learned about the InfantSEE(R) program, it was an obvious decision to take Rebekah for an assessment. Knowing her vision is healthy puts my mind at ease!"

To continue to improve infant eye assessment rates in West Virginia, parents can bring their infant in for a no-cost assessment at the VSP InfantSEE(R) Mobile Clinic stationed in towns across the state. Also, for those parents who can't make it to the VSP InfantSEE(R) Mobile Clinic, optometrists from around the state will be providing these no-cost InfantSEE(R) eye assessments from May 4 through 15 in their offices by appointment.

    VSP InfantSEE(R) Mobile Clinic Schedule - Walk-ins accepted
    Monday, May 4 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Charleston, W.Va.  - FamilyCare: Big Lots Plaza on Patrick St.,
    116 Hills Plaza

    Tuesday, May 5 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Beckley/Mt. Hope, W.Va.  - Crossroads Mall: 2 Crossroads Mall

    Wednesday, May 6 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Lewisburg, W.Va.  - Robert Byrd Health Clinic: 400 N. Jefferson St.

    Thursday, May 7 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Bluefield, W.Va.  - Mercer Mall

    Friday, May 8 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Logan, W.Va.  - Wal-Mart: 77 Norman Morgan Blvd.

    Monday, May 11 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Huntington, W.Va.  - Pullman Square:  220 9th St.

    Tuesday, May 12 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Parkersburg/Vienna, W.Va.  - Grand Central Mall: 100 Grand Central Ave.

    Wednesday, May 13 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Wheeling/Triadelphia, W.Va.  - Cabela's: One Cabela Dr., Triadelphia, WV

    Thursday, May 14 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Bridgeport, W.Va. -  Bridgeport Conference Center: 300 Conference
    Center Way

    Friday, May 15 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Fairmont, W.Va. -  Middletown Mall: 2500 Fairmont Ave.

    Saturday, May 16 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Martinsburg, W.Va.  - Martinsburg Mall: 800 Foxcroft Ave.

    Participating Optometrist offering NO-COST InfantSEE(R) Assessments in
    Their Offices - Appointment Required
    Dr. Cynthia Zwolensky
    67 Casino Dr., Ste. 102

    Dr. Glenn Bailey
    Dr. Melissa Leoni
    6010 US Route 60 East

    Dr. Charles Field
    701 S. Oakwood Ave.

    Dr. David Holliday
    Dr. Mark Holliday
    1928 Harper Rd.

    Dr. Charles Waitkus
    624 Neville St.

    Dr. Frank Brittom
    3101 Cumberland Rd.

    Dr. John Hendrix
    Dr. Donald Taylor
    332 Worth St.

    Dr. J. William Barnes
    Dr. Gregory Groves
    Dr. Harry Murray, III
    107 Doctors Dr.

    Dr. Kent Hall
    Dr. Jeffery Whittington
    Dr. Sandra Whittington
    3840 Pennsylvania Ave.

    Dr. Jim Fick
    Dr. Craig Liebig
    538 B Emily Dr.

    Dr. Edward Hyre
    1500 Harrison Ave., Suite 2

    Dr. Cheryl C. Van Horn
    3 Hutchinson Dr.

    Dr. Martin Carpenter
    Dr. Phillip Wilmoth
    709 Morgantown Ave.

    Dr. C.D. Laughlin
    Dr. J.K. Wade
    405 Locust Ave.

    Dr. Chris Ratcliff
    Dr. William Ratcliff
    919 Fifth Ave., Ste 100

    Dr. James Herman
    3709 Teays Valley Rd.

    Dr. Gregory Browning
    912 Oak St.

    Dr. Nancy Collins
    107 E Foster St.

    Dr. Arabel Hatfield
    315 White & Browning Bldg.

    Dr. Mason Edward White, II
    113 LB and T Way

    Dr. James Pasinski
    1257 Pineview Dr.

    Dr. John Myers
    511 Fifth St.

    New Martinsville
    Dr. Neill Marshall
    903 3rd Ave. South

    Dr. James Campbell
    700 Kevin Dr., Ste. E

    Dr. Jerry Lantz
    2905 Emerson Ave.

    Dr. Douglas Conrath
    Dr. Scott Lauer
    Dr. Vicki Lauer
    402 Avery St.

    Dr. Scott Carpenter
    1043 Stafford Dr.

    Dr. Christopher Hansen
    Dr. Bradley Lane
    700 Oakvale Rd.

    Dr. Gary Veronneau
    1102 Main St.

    Dr. Ben Mize
    706 Washington St.

    Dr. Howard Klapper
    200 Academy Dr.

    St. Mary's
    Dr. Larry Carr
    214 Washington St.

    Dr. Rob Christen
    Dr. Richard Stender
    624 Wells St.

    Dr. Brett Radow
    149 Main St.

    South Charleston
    Dr. Travis Taylor
    Dr. Sarah Taylor
    415 D St.

    Dr. Eddie Prendergast
    651 Water St.

    Dr. Steven Wilson
    126 W. Second 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

Stay up-to-date on the VSP InfantSEE(R) Mobile Clinic at:

About InfantSEE(R)

InfantSEE(R) is a public health program managed by Optometry's Charity(TM) - The AOA Foundation. Designed to ensure that eye and vision care become an integral part of infant wellness and improve a child's quality of life, doctors of optometry provide one eye and vision assessment to infants free-of-charge regardless of socioeconomic status. For more information 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.

About the VSP Family of Companies

VSP(R)'s family of companies includes the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 55 million members; VSP Labs, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics; Marchon(R) Eyewear Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear, distributing its products to more than 100,000 customer locations in more than 100 countries; Eyefinity(R)/Officemate(R) which offer innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and the patient experience.

Since 1997, VSP has provided more than 510,000 low-income, uninsured children with free eyecare. Through relationships with the American Diabetes Association, Prevent Blindness America and the Center for Health Transformation, VSP promotes the importance of annual eye exams for maintaining eye health and overall wellness.

    Contact: Julie Mahoney                  Madonna Duncan
    American Optometric Association         Hill & Knowlton
    (314) 991-4100 x4176                    (312) 255-3143             

Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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