With August being Children’s Vision and Learning Month and the passing of the torch from former AOA President Dr. Dori Carlson to Dr. Ron Hopping, I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at some important developments over this past year having to do with our profession and the children and adolescents we will be serving as O.D.’s in the future.
One of these major events was the 2011 School Readiness Summit, where health and teaching professionals got together for the first time to discuss and recognize issues such as how to get all school aged children in for a comprehensive eye exam, and the extreme importance of this when it comes to a child’s learning and development. Additionally, having healthy eyes and good vision are imperative to a child’s success in school, so why not make a comprehensive eye exam prior to school enrollment mandatory in all 50 states rather than only the few that this is currently required in? The School Readiness Summit was a huge step in the right direction for this future possibility. Take a look at the article if you missed it from last summer: http://www.aoa.org/x18280.xml.
A more recent achievement occurred earlier this year, and, like any other legislative victory in optometry, had been in the making for while and was the result of a cohesive effort. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged that comprehensive eye exams for children should be covered by health insurance plans as part of the pediatric vision care essential health benefit. Check out my article from earlier this summer detailing the developments of this outstanding accomplishment: http://optometrystudents.com/pediatric-vision-care-an-essential-health-benefit/
Whether as current or future optometrists, many of us [will] serve a wide spectrum of patients from all walks of life. As Children’s Vision and Learning Month comes to a close, this should be a clear reminder of how we can change the lives of children not only with the skills and expertise learned at our respective optometry schools, but also through the advocacy we display for our profession outside of the offices and lecture halls.