As a first time mom, I am always reading and discussing with other moms about when to get things checked. Let me give you a few examples – first bath, first dentist visit, first time to take her to the doctor when it’s not just a checkup, first solid foods, first transition from our room to her room. Get the jist? I am all about my new baby and will willingly talk hours on end about her.
When I had my eye exam one month after giving birth I was so happy to be 1) out of the house 2) showered and 3) seeing new people to show off and talk about my baby. My eye prescription didn’t change, but as I was babbling on about sleepless nights and her obsession with our ceiling fan, Dr. Walters at Eye Care Associates of Madison mentioned to me about when to get my baby’s eyes checked.
I didn’t even think about that one!?! I didn’t add her to my eye insurance yet and he suggested between 6 months and 10 months. Thankfully, he also mentioned that there is a free public health program called InfantSEE. This is a one time, complete screening and eye assessment for infant up to 1-year-old. It offers early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no cost regardless of income.
Honestly I was thinking what are they going to do, ask my kid if a or b looks better? 1 or 2? But honestly, this eye exam is so simple! It took around 30 minutes. I held her on my lap and they used a toy or a brightly colored object to check if she can follow objects with her eyes. Some of the eye conditions they test for are amblyopia (often referred to as lazy eye), muscle imbalances, and some ocular diseases. When I had Millie’s done, the optometrist had me put a small puff in the his hand so he could test to make sure she could see small objects. I brought a toy for her to play with, but she kept wanting to grab at the lenses. They also dilated her eyes to look for pupil function and the test can also detect ocular diseases such as retinoblastoma, the seventh most common pediatric cancer.
One in every 10 children is at risk from undiagnosed eye and vision problems, yet only 13 percent of mothers with children younger than 2 years of age said they had taken their babies to see an eye and vision care professional for a regular check-up or well-care visit. 1 in 30 children will be affected by amblyopia – often referred to as lazy eye – a leading cause of vision loss in people younger than 45 years[ii] The good news is that many times if caught early enough, there are ways to combat these diseases!
Beth Ridgeway lives in Madison with her husband, daughter, and toy poodle. She works as the Social Media Specialist at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. When she’s not volunteering or working, you can find her binge watching Netflix, reading, or rehearsing improv.