Infant Information

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Infants need to have eye dilation exams. The pupil of an infant is small in diameter and needs to be dilated in order for the ophthalmoscope to detect tumors, cataracts, and other ocular diseases.

This is easily done at the well-baby visit.After the infant is weighed, the nurse administers the eye dilation drop in the corner of each eye. At the end of the exam, when the pupils are dilated, the pediatrician will check the eyes with the ophthalmoscope in a darkened room. This causes no extra time to the doctor. Remember, using the ophthalmoscope is part of the standard exam.

The pediatricians who are performing routine eye dilation exams want to see all doctors doing the same. It takes only ten seconds of a nurse's time to put in the drops...all of which cost only pennies. I refer to it as "the ten second, two cent exam."

One pediatrician who has been performing the exam for over ten years described it as "gentle, safe and cost effective." While another pediatrician doing routine eye dilation exams for over 20 years wrote, "I only wish we had other simple, inexpensive and safe methods of screening for other diseases that have a potential devastating impact as loss of sight or loss of life.'

One in every 677 live births in the United States has a treatable eye disease or anomaly that will cause blindness unless detected early. Some of them can take sight as early as two months of age. Retinoblastoma will take life if not detected and allowed to escape out of the eye.

A few of the Infant eye diseases follow: Cataracts, tumors, *Coat's Disease, Glaucoma.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Premature babies have automatic eye dilation exams. Sadly, 90 percent of the infants born with eye diseases are the healthy babies and we are not looking in their eyes! ASK FOR THIS EXAM! Early detection and referral are key to saving vision and life.

"Joey's Bill"; was written in the state of Florida after Joey died. The bill is asking for eye dilation exams at birth, the 6 to 8 week well-baby exam and one more at the 6-9 month well baby exam.

Eye dilation exams in the beginning of life are vital to the health and welfare of our children.

Bottom line...what we did for hearing, we now need to do for sight. Vision screening needs to start at birth. Every child has the right to healthy vision and life. This legislation will help ensure that right.

No child will needlessly go blind, loose an eye, or die to any treatable eye disease. It is a gift that we can fix this for our children. Working together we will make it happen. Joey is smiling.

If you need information or have questions, please contact me at any time

Pam Bergsma
619 South K. Street
Lake Worth, FL 33460