For most people, sight is their most valued sense.  Unfortunately, there is often times very little known about infant vision from the general public.  Often times patients feel that screenings at their pediatrician’s office are adequate enough to determine whether or not there are any vision concerns with a child’s eyes.  Fortunately, there are ocular conditions that can be identified much earlier if infants are brought to their optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination.

As eyecare practitioners, we are well aware that there are several conditions that can affect a child’s vision.  Amblyopia, refractive errors that are outside of the normal range, strabismus, retinoblastoma, and infantile glaucoma are just a few of those conditions. Helping parents understand the importance of eye care for their infant and setting the precedent for a lifetime of quality comprehensive eyecare is critical. We’re fortunate that we have a program that helps provide education for just that.


InfantSEE is a program that was started in 2005.  Any child between the ages of six months to a year old can have a comprehensive dilated ocular exam at no cost to the family.  The program was put in place to remove cost as a barrier to infants receiving quality care and to identify ocular concerns that can be treated at a young age.  We have personally been infancy providers since the inception of the program.  Please visit for information on how to become a provider.  Patients can easily search for participating providers in their region of the country.

Educating People About Infant Care

When we first became InfantSEE providers, we made sure that we communicated with every single pediatrician in our area to educate them about the program.  We set up educational lunches in which we brought in lunch and educated them about the intricacies surrounding infant vision care.  We made sure to make the discussion detailed enough so that the pediatricians were aware of what we were looking for but not so detailed that they were lost in the minutiae of the discussion.

For example, we made sure that the pediatricians knew that each infant would be receiving a dilated eye exam and that the retina would be evaluated at each of the visits.  We also made sure to educate them that we test for three large components of how the visual system works: 1) we test how the eyes work together, 2) we test whether either of the eyes have an asymmetric refractive error or other risk factors for amblyopia and 3) we test the refractive error in both eyes to determine if it is within the normal range of what we would expect for the infant.

Surprisingly most pediatricians were unaware that with an instrument such as a retinoscope, we can determine what the infant’s vision is and how their eyes are focusing.  They were very impressed with the discussion and this led to every single one of them referring all the infants that they were caring for to be referred to our office for an InfantSEE exam.

Educating Patients In The Office

We make sure to educate patients who have had newborn children about the InfantSEE program.  We make sure that anyone in the office that mentions a new baby in their family is educated about the importance of the first infant exam. Often times parents and the general public will have concerns about how the infant will have their eyes examined. As such it’s important to understand how to communicate that an infant won’t have to answer the question that they normally have to when they get their eyes examined such as “which one looks better, lens one or lens two?”

Educating Outside Of The Office

We frequently write articles for our local newspaper. Although the local newspaper used to be a traditional means of information dissemination because most had the newspaper delivered to their houses, they have become much more digitally strategic in the way they disseminate their current issues. As such, it’s much more sophisticated than it used to be.  Although they do deliver traditional newspapers to some people oftentimes much of the coverage that’s received is through their social media posts.

Often times our newspaper will have special editions that are focused on infants and children. We called the newspaper when we know these issues are coming out and ask them if they would like an article on infant vision.  We’ve incorporated articles into these publications on infant vision and in doing so have provided the opportunity for more people to understand and know about the InfantSEE program.

Other things that we’ve done is post social media posts regarding information on our Facebook page. Facebook posts provide the ability for your office to communicate the things that you want other people in the community to know about your office.

Often times at local hospitals nurses will have newborn classes. Understanding when these occur and providing the nurses with the appropriate information regarding the InfantSEE program provides another outlet to help educate them about the importance of infant vision.

Infant vision care has provided a remarkable service to many patients in our local community regardless of their financial means to pay for the services. Through the infantSEE program, we’ve agreed to provide the first-time eye exam to two infants at no cost.  In doing so we’re hopefully changing the trajectory of the way that these children will ultimately grow up with healthy eyes.  Just as important as providing the services is also educating our patients about them.  Think of some of these strategies to help educate the public in your areas regarding the infant services that you provide in your office.

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