Free program helps infants see

Tuesday, May 27th 2008, 4:03 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich

Darcy Baer was worried that her 15-month son was not seeing clearly with his baby-blues.

"He kinda would look at us cock-eyed sometimes," Baer said. "I think a lot of times as parents they think they're being cute. Or making cute faces or just winking but, so it made me wonder, is there something going on?"

So Baer brought Parker into the optometrist's office for a full eye examination for free.

The examination was part of InfantSEE, a public health program designed to ensure that vision care for babies under 12 months becomes an integral part of infant wellness.

Turns out, Parker was seeing perfectly through his left eye, but poorly through the right. He was near sighted, on one side.

"Insurance company isn't going to cover a comprehensive eye exam with a child under one with no obvious problems, so that was certainly an incentive," Baer said.

One in every 10 kids is at risk from undiagnosed eye and vision problems, and 100,000 infants are born each year who are at risk for serious eye and vision, said Dr. Kimberly Hefner, InfantSEE optometrist.

"Depth perception mainly can be a problem," she said. "They start running into walls, or they have trouble walking, and their development as far as their coordination is very much delayed."