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South Carolina Optometrists Partner with State Legislators and Local Mayors in Improving Infant Eye and Vision Care

CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems across the United States, South Carolina optometrists are devoting appointments to no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants between six to 12 months of age through InfantSEE®.

InfantSEE®, a public health program developed by Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation and Vistakon®, 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.  

"Detecting vision problems at an early age is the best way to ensure our children have healthy vision for successful development and learning," said Sen. Paul Campbell (R-44).  "Educating parents about the importance of establishing ongoing vision care for their children beginning at a very young age is also a top priority.  I encourage families in South Carolina to take advantage of this free eye examination through InfantSEE® and the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association."

"What a wonderful gift of time and talent by South Carolina's optometrists to offer free eye exams to infants between birth and one year of age," said Sen. Luke Rankin (R-33).  "I encourage all South Carolinians to take advantage of this opportunity for early detection and treatment for our infant's vision problems."

Leading members of the South Carolina House have also expressed their support for the InfantSEE® program.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to have children at an early age get their vision tested," said Rep. Mike Sottile (R-112).  "This will only enhance the well being of the child for many years to come.  I just want to say thank you to the South Carolina optometrists for providing this great service."

"What a wonderful opportunity for all involved," said Rep. Joe Daning (R-92).  "The optometrists are serving the community by providing free eye screenings to infants. Parents are being educated in the need for proper and early detection of vision problems and best of all a free exam for infants under a year of age. This is an exciting opportunity for our community. Thanks to the optometrists of South Carolina!"

"As an optometric physician and a state representative, I see the importance of comprehensive eye examinations for infants every day.  I am personally excited to be a part of the InfantSEE® South Carolina tour and encourage all South Carolinians to take advantage of this opportunity," said Dr. Deborah Long (R-45), an optometrist from Ft. Mill.

To help protect infant vision and eye health, local mayors declared Monday, September 20 through Saturday, September 25 InfantSEE® Week in South Carolina.

"Early detection of vision problems is the best way to treat and prevent permanent vision impairment," said Greenville Mayor Knox White. "On behalf of our City Council I encourage all our citizens to participate in InfantSEE® Week."

"The most critical stages of vision development occur in the first year of a child's life," said Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. "I urge all our citizens to schedule an InfantSEE® exam for their infants."

One in 10 children is 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 South Carolina, great strides are being made to ensure that potential eye and vision problems are detected early. Infant eye assessments have been available in South Carolina since the InfantSEE® 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. Jennie Smith, a South Carolina optometrist and InfantSEE® provider. "It's the ideal time to detect eye and vision problems before these conditions worsen or cause developmental delays."

"With so many people needing eye care, this is an excellent opportunity for South Carolina," said Addie Bunn, Communications Manager, United Way Association of South Carolina.  "Since 2008, United Way has been working to achieve a 10-year goal: to increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors by 2018. This will be one step closer to reaching that goal."

The program launched in 2005 with support from former President Jimmy Carter, honorary national spokesperson. Nearly 8,000 optometrists nationwide volunteer their time to provide assessments to babies in their communities.  The majority of vision problems detected include retinoblastoma (eye cancer), severe hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), congenital glaucoma and congenital cataract.

"I heard about the InfantSEE® program from a family member and wondered how an infant could have their eyes tested at such a young age," said Kamela Snider, a local mother of Makenzie, 11 months.  "I was amazed when I saw how the tests were performed and the amount of information that could be obtained about the health and vision of my baby's eyes. It was such a relief to know that my child's vision was developing as it should be."

To continue to improve infant eye assessment rates in South Carolina, parents can bring their infant in for a no-cost assessment at the InfantSEE® Mobile Clinic stationed in towns across the state.  Also, for those parents who can't make it to the InfantSEE® Mobile Clinic, optometrists from around the state will be providing these no-cost InfantSEE® eye assessments from September 20 through 25 in their offices by appointment.InfantSEE® Mobile Clinic Schedule – Walk-ins acceptedMonday September 20 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.Greenville, SC – United Way: 102 Edinburgh Ct., 864-467-3333Tuesday, September 21 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.Spartanburg, SC – Morningside Baptist Church: 897 South Pine St. 864-582-7556Wednesday, September 22 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.Indian Land, SC – Wal-Mart: 10048 Charlotte Hwy., 803-802-6666Thursday, September 23 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.Columbia, SC – Edventure Children's Museum: 211 Gervais St., 803 -779-3100 ext. 1133Friday, September 24 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.North Charleston, SC – Cathedral of Praise, 3790 Ashley Phosphate Rd., 843-760-2626Saturday, September 25 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.Mount Pleasant, SC – Seacoast Church: 750 Long Point Rd., 843-881-2100Participating Optometrist offering NO-COST InfantSEE® Assessments in their Offices – Appointment RequiredBARNWELLDr. Edward Lemon267 Main St.803-259-2020BEAUFORTDr. Denise Carter1264 Ribaut Rd., Ste. 302843-525-0166BLUFFTONDr. Jennifer Switak104 Buckwalter Pkwy, Unit 1C843-757-9588BOILING SPRINGSDr. Melissa Stiling2603 Boiling Springs Rd., Ste. B864-578-3926CHAPINDr. Bob Branch506 Old Lexington Hwy803-345-3170CHARLESTONDr. Michele Donovan2015 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.843-763-2247Dr. Neil DraisinDr. Jennifer Smith1470 Tobias Gadson Blvd., Suite 115843-556-2020Dr. Joseph Pitcavage675 St. Andrews Blvd.843-763-2270Dr. Michael Zolman325 Folly Rd., Suite 109843-795-6464COLUMBIADr. John Brinkley360 Harbison Blvd.803-732-8663Dr. Philip Flynn2757 Laurel St.803-799-7358Dr. Wayne Grimm7499 Parklane Rd., Suite 160803-741-2020Dr. Benjamin Ingram4406-A Forest Dr., Ste 1803-782-7080Dr. Jean Martin332 Long Pointe Lane803-419-8907Dr. Dorothy Park1818 Hampton St.803-254-6306CONWAYDr. James Vaught1406 Main St.843-488-2020DANIEL ISLANDDr. Charlie Turner250 Seven Farms Dr., Ste. A843-471-2733ESTILLDr. David McKenzieDr. Michell McKenzie2010 Browning Gate Rd.803-625-3384FLORENCEDr. Dave Hamill514 2nd Loop Rd., Ste. E843-679-9900FORT JACKSONDr. Peter Candela4110 Moseby St. Main Exchange PX803-790-1849FORT MILLDr. Deborah LongDr. Melissa Schwebach1090 Spratt St.803-547-5547Dr. Steven Haleo3686 Center Circle803-802-7171GEORGETOWNDr. Crystal Franklin1310 N. Fraser843-520-0576GOOSE CREEKDr. Melvin Watsky425 Redbank Dr.843-797-1264GREENVILLEDr. Michelle Cooper24 Potomac Ave.864-277-4420Dr. Randall Baughman1609 Woodruff Rd.864-288-7445Dr. Billie Skinner1212 Haywood Rd., Ste. 600864-234-7700Dr. Ben McNeelyDr. Johndra McNeely1021 Woodruff Rd.864-297-2573Dr. Van Forrester2 Maple Tree Court, Ste. B864-294-8777GREENWOODDr. Kara Jo DodgensDr. Jennifer Lippens711 Montague Ave.864-229-2301GREERDr. Gordon Johnson312 Memorial Dr.864-877-3031Dr. Rosalind Smith1014 W. Poinsett St.864-877-4011HILTON HEADDr. Michael Campbell10 Hospital Center Commons, Ste. 100843-681-6682IRMODr. Maria Dickerson7229 St. Andrews Rd.803-781-2212JAMES ISLANDDr. Robert Wilds105 Wappoo Creek Dr., Ste. 4B843-795-7971LANCASTERDr. Johnny Dukes929 N. Main St.803-285-8433LEXINGTONDr. Greg Bailey119 Library Hill Lane803-359-2110MONCKS CORNERDr. Sherry Gilmer484 N. Highway 52, Ste. 101843-482-2020MOUNT PLEASANTDr. Emily Curry709 C Long Point Rd.843-849-0800Dr. Lori DonovanDr. Janet Monaco805 Long Point Rd.843-971-6300Dr. Betsy FraserDr. Diane SeeDr. Mason Smith966 Houston Northcutt Blvd.843-881-2492Dr. Rachael Click1118 Park West Blvd., Ste. 5843-856-4775MYRTLE BEACHDr. Mark Dean4886 Socastee Blvd.843-293-1555Dr. Thomas Weshefsky3874 Renee Dr., Suite D843-903-6262Dr. Neal Williams4885 Socastee Blvd.843-293-8101NEWBERRYDr. Tim Stafford2737 Winnsboro Rd.803-276-3271NORTH AUGUSTADr. Lance Rittenhouse531 Georgia Ave.803-279-5277NORTH CHARLESTONDr. Francis Shealy7643 Rivers Ave., Ste. D843-797-0737ORANGEBURGDr. Robert Cress1605 Carolina Ave.803-534-2352PAWLEYS ISLAND Dr. Jerd Poston 10805 Ocean Hwy.843-979-2400PENDLETONDr. Frank Forgnoni7611 Hwy 76, Ste. B864-646-3535SIMPSONVILLEDr. Sara Bopp877 NE Main St., Suite A864-967-8582Dr. Sean Stevens309 SE Main St.864-963-4933SPARTANBURGDr. Louis MartinDr. Janell Martin399 E. Henry St.864-585-0208SUMMERVILLEDr. Justin Dungan717 Old Trolley Rd., Unit 3843-843-1889Dr. Leslie Patterson9880 Dorchester Rd.843-851-0280SURFSIDEDr. Lisa Turbeville1651 Glenns Bay Rd.843-650-2400WALTERBORODr. Kirsten Harwood1009 Bells Hwy.843-549-2565InfantSEE® 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®, visit or call (877) 252-2447.

About InfantSEE® InfantSEE® is a public health program managed by Optometry Cares – 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-time, no-cost eye and vision assessment to infants between the ages of 6 and 12 months regardless of family income or access to insurance coverage. 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 United Way Association of South Carolina and the South Carolina Commission on National and Community ServiceUnited Way Association of South Carolina is the statewide leadership organization for South Carolina's United Ways. United Way is a global network, including nearly 1,300 local organizations in the U.S. that advance the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. In December 2007, by Executive Order of Governor Mark Sanford, the Association was appointed as the governing authority of the South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service, which funds AmeriCorps initiatives throughout the state. For more information about United Way Association of South Carolina, please visit: Mahoney

Addie Bunn

Madonna Duncan(314) 983-4176

(803) 929-1000 x105


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