InfantSEE is a public health program that provides free eye exams for six to 12 month olds to make sure that their eyes are developing correctly. The American Optometric Association recommends for babies to receive their first eye assessment at six months. They check for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, eye movement ability and overall eye health.
I cannot remember when I first learned about InfantSEE, but it was back when six months old felt very, very far away. I was thankful to be reminded about the program during our first Parents as Teachers home visit. Baby was already 10 months old, so we quickly made our appointment. The InfantSEE website allowed me to search for a participating doctor near my house, and I was happy to see my own optometrist on the list.
On the day of the appointment we got to the office a little bit early. The waiting room doubled as the glasses showroom, so I was reluctant to let Baby crawl around. He hung out in his Ergobaby carrier while I filled out paperwork at the desk. I think the staff would have preferred for me to sit down, but completing the forms at the counter was much better for containing Baby.
After the forms were complete, we walked around, read a storybook, and danced in front of the showroom mirror to entertain Baby while we waited for our appointment. Once we were called back, a tech asked if we’d experienced any problems (i.e. lazy eye, ear infections, excessive eye gunk). Just a few colds, thank God.
The tech pointed out a little basket of toys for us to play with while we waited for the doctor. Luckily, the exam room was clean and carpeted, so Baby had a chance to crawl around. We waited. And waited. And waited.
I pulled out some puffs for Baby to munch on. He worked his way through the basket of toys, which included some glass lenses. It seemed like an odd choice for a toy, but I figured they were there to help kiddos get used to the doctor’s tools. Baby loved slobbering all over them.
Babies aren’t the most patient creatures in the world. Neither are mamas who have to be home before naptime. I went out to check, and as soon as I stepped out of the room someone at a counter nearby told me the doctor was finishing up in another room and would be right in. At this point Baby had already been through a bag of puff and it was my turn for a snack. I was grateful for the almonds stashed in the diaper bag.
Soon enough, the optometrist walked in. She apologized for the delay and said that if she’d known her previous patient had had a detached retina she would have seen us first. At least she had a good reason for being 30 minutes late.
With Baby in my lap, she shined a light towards Baby’s eyes and then moved the light around to check his range of motion and tracking. My job was to be a straight jacket and hold Baby’s arms down so the doctor could actually see into his eyes. Next the doctor used another gadget to check that his optical nerve and other eye tissues were developing correctly. Lastly, she used another tool and the lenses from the toy basket to check his vision. Apparently those lenses weren’t for Baby after all. #whoops
I was amazed at how quickly the doctor could check and measure Baby’s vision. She said that it’s simple to do and she used these tools with all if her nonverbal clients. It was the first time I had thought about how someone who cannot communicate verbally would be able to receive vision services and I appreciated the lesson and perspective.
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The doctor found that Baby was a little farsighted, which was totally normal for his age. She said she expected for babies to be farsighted within a healthy range, and that by 5-6 years old it should even out to zero.
With a clean bill of health, we were good to go. Our total time with the doctor was less than 10 minutes, but was definitely worth the trip. I asked clarifying questions when the doctor used big medical terms, and that’s when she really lit up. She was clearly passionate about her work, and we will definitely go back to her for Baby’s next check up when he turns three.
How was your child’s first eye exam? Did you make an InfantSEE appointment?
Great post Farrah! I just recently learned that babies should be checked for vision problems at 6 months old. I had no idea!!
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I just had a guest post from an optometrist and I (as well as many others) was stunned to discover that babies should have their vision checked at 6 months old!
This sounds like a great program.
Thanks for sharing.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Why Am I Blogging?
I was, too! I never would have imagined they would be able to check so much… and so quickly!
Thanks for linking up this post to the #SHINEbloghop Farrah!
Have a wonderful (and productive) weekend.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…SHINE Blog Hop #14
I was JUST talking to my husband last night about scheduling an eye exam for my toddler because Jennifer from The Deliberate Mom did a post that talked about first exams at 6 months…and I’m a year late. Sucks you had to wait for so long :[ but I’m glad they acknowledged the wait, when doctor’s don’t apologize for the long wait I get pretty upset. And yay yay yay for healthy eyes!
Rebecca recently posted…Teaching Kids How to Bend Spoons With Their Mind
Agreed! I was getting really annoyed by the wait, but then immediately feel in love with the doctor when she came in (I had seen someone else in the practice for me). Have fun at your appointment!
I did not know all of this!! Thank you so much for sharing, I haven’t had either of my boys eye’s checked. And I’m glad the doctor had a good reason for making you wait!
Jessica Dimas recently posted…7 Facts About Me
Thank you, Jessica! I just learned about another program for 3 year olds and kindergartners: http://www.seetolearn.com/see-to-learn.html