AOA Survey Shows Fewer than One in Five Infants Receive Critical First-Year Exam

ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association’s American Eye-Q survey has determined that although most parents are aware that vision disorders can be detected in infants, few take action. Only 19 percent of parents who participated in the survey report taking their infant to an eye doctor for a comprehensive assessment before their child’s first birthday.

Most Americans are unaware that one in 10 infants in the U.S. has an undetected vision problem which, if left untreated, can lead to developmental delays, permanent vision problems and in rare cases, life-threatening health risks. For example, according to the survey, the majority of parents are aware that “lazy eye” (61 percent) and “crossed eyes” (63 percent) can be detected in infants, but less than one-third were aware that cancer, farsightedness and nearsightedness may also be detected during an infant exam.

Because an infant’s development is critical between six and 12 months of age, the InfantSEE public health program was developed by Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation and Vistakon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. to provide professional eyecare for infants nationwide at no cost, regardless of family income, insurance or number of eligible children.

The AOA recommends that a child’s first eye exam take place at six months of age. Unless problems are detected, the next exam should be at age three, again before entering school and then yearly. The AOA’s sixth annual American Eye-Q survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB), which interviewed 1,000 Americans aged 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the general population of the U.S.