Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 10:33 EDT

New Mexico Optometrists Partner With Rep. Powdrell-Culbert And Gov. Martinez To Improve Infant Eye And Vision Care

May 14, 2012

SANTA FE, N.M., May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Due to the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems across the United States, New Mexico optometrists are devoting appointments throughout the year to no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants between six and 12 months of age through InfantSEE®. To call attention to and emphasize the importance of this effort, Governor Susana Martinez has declared the week of May 14 through May 19, 2012 InfantSEE® Week in New Mexico.

InfantSEE®, a year-round public health program created 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.

“Having spent many years working with children, there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing a happy healthy child,” said Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert (R-New Mexico). “The InfantSEE® program is a great opportunity for any parent to take advantage of and make a part of their baby’s annual heath care regimen. I applaud all of our local optometrists for providing this free service to our communities.”

One in 10 infants 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, according to the American Optometric Association’s Pediatric Eye and Vision study.

“Many parents are surprised to learn how critical the first year of life is to a child’s visual development,” said Dr. Andrea Bethel, a New Mexico optometrist and InfantSEE® provider. “It’s the optimal time to detect eye and vision problems before they worsen or cause developmental delays.”

In New Mexico, great strides are being made to ensure potential eye and vision problems are detected early. Infant eye assessments have been available in the state since the program began.

The InfantSEE®( )program launched in 2005 with support from former President Jimmy Carter, honorary national spokesperson. To date, more than 7,600 optometrists nationwide volunteer their time to provide assessments to babies in their communities. The majority of vision problems detected include severe hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), congenital glaucoma and congenital cataract. A less common vision problem that can also be detected during an infant’s comprehensive eye assessment includes retinoblastoma (eye cancer).

In an effort to ensure healthy vision and eye health in New Mexico infants, parents can bring their infant for a no-cost assessment at participating optometrists’ offices by appointment.

Dr. Andrea E. Bethel
6600 Menaul Blvd. NE, Ste. M5a
Albuquerque, NM 87110
(505) 884-8722

Dr. Deidra M. Casaus
140 E. US Highway 550, Ste. E
Bernalillo, NM 87004
(505) 771-3937

Dr. Mamie Chan
5341 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Ste. D
Albuquerque, NM 87109
(505) 821-8333

Dr. Michelle Cohen
112 Hermosa SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108
(505) 265-3443

Dr. Jane Ellen Compton
710 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Ste. F
Taos, NM 87571
(575) 758-2205

Dr. Lynn A. Davis
2207 Golf Course Rd. SE, Ste. B
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
(505) 896-2010

Dr. Jay S Folkman
6821 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Ste. C
Albuquerque, NM 87109
(505) 881-7440

Dr. Robert L. Jarrell III
9204 Menaul NE, Ste. 1
Albuquerque, NM 87112
(505) 452-2020

Dr. Daniel Mayes
723 N Turner St
Hobbs, NM 88240
(575) 393-2020

Dr. Yvonne A. McCloskey
612 N. Paseo De Onate, Ste. C
Espanola, NM 87532
(505) 753-7355

Dr. Michael H. Meneakis
612 N Paseo De Onate, Ste. C
Espanola, NM 87532
(505) 753-7355

Dr. Jennifer L. Planitz
4100 Crestview Dr. SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
(505) 891-2020

Dr. Charles Schulte
5000 Menaul Blvd. NE, Ste. B
Albuquerque, NM 87101
(505) 872-1212

Dr. Charles Schulte
2027 Cerrillos Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 820-1212

Dr. Thomas Kunz
330 E. Boutz Rd.
Las Cruces, NM 88005
(575) 526-3314

Dr. Brent E. Shelley
1680 Calle De Alvarez, Ste. D
Las Cruces, NM 88005
(575) 526-5367

In addition, local optometrists will be handing out informational materials regarding the InfantSEE® program at the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum during the “Family Science Night” event on Thursday, May 17, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum is located at 1701 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, NM.

InfantSEE® 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 www.InfantSEE.org or call toll free 888-396-EYES (3937).

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 a one-time, no-cost eye and vision assessment to infants between the ages of six and 12 months regardless of family income or access to insurance coverage. For more information, visit www.InfantSEE.org.

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 33,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in nearly 6,500 communities across the country. For more information, visit www.aoa.org.

Contact: Madonna Duncan
(312) 255-3143


Source: PR Newswire