Monday, April 19, 2010

InfantSEE Program

Recently a local optometrist Jarrod Davies, O.D. came and talked to our Welcome Baby volunteers about the InfantSEE Program and the importance of infants receiving an eye exam during the first year of life.   This is something that many parents don’t even think about until their child is showing signs of vision problems.  However, a full eye exam before your child turns one year old is very important.  Here are some reasons why:

1.  The optometrist can detect if your infant is at risk for an eye or vision disorder.
2.  1 out of every 10 children are at risk for an undiagnosed eye or vision problem.
3.  Most eye or vision problems detected while a child is young can be prevented    or easily corrected with cost-effective treatment.
4.  Usually the earlier a vision or eye disorder is detected the more successfully it can be treated.

Dr. Davies recommened that you take your child to the eye doctor between six months and one year, then return again at age three, and then have their eyes checked again before they enter grade school.

The wonderful thing about all of this is that between the age of six months to one year you can take your child to an optometrist for free thanks to the InfantSEE program.  If you are interested in this program all you have to do is visit infantsee.org and find a optometrist in your area who is part of the InfantSEE network.  This optometrist will do a full eye exam on your child for free!

Here is some more great information that Dr. Davies shared with us.

1.  Tummy-time is very important for your child’s vision development because it helps your child learn how to look up, down, left, and right. 
2.  Moving both sides of your child’s body like arms or legs simultaneiously, during the first six to eight weeks of life, helps to develop your infant’s bilateral and binocular development. 
3.  It is important to move your child’s crib position and their position in the crib frequently.  This helps stimulate your baby so he/she isn’t constantly looking at the same thing while in the crib.
4.  If you are bottle feeding make sure to alternate right and left sides with each feeding.  If you are breastfeeding you naturally do this.
5.  Play “patty cake” and “peek-a-boo” with your baby.
6.  Encourage your baby to play with stacking and take-apart toys. 
7.  Something we all thought was just fun is that while you are pregnant, if you hold a flashlight to your belly and move it around your baby will respond to the light.

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