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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 24, 2003

Iowa Optometric Association Pledges To Support Children's Vision Screening

The Iowa Optometric Association will contribute $12,000 annually for the next five years in support of vision screening through the "Coming to Your Senses" project.

"Coming to Your Senses" is a vision-screening project conducted by Lions Club volunteers around Iowa who are trained to screen young children in their local communities. The vision screening is non-invasive. Lions Club volunteers use a special camera to take photographs of the children's eyes.

Specialists in the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences evaluate the results of the vision screenings. Parents receive the results of the screening within two to four weeks after they are conducted. If a possible vision problem is detected, a letter of referral and a list of optometrists and ophthalmologists in their local area are provided.

The first few years of a child's life are critical in the development of good vision. Problems are not always evident by simply looking at a child. Each day that eye problems go undetected and untreated, a child's vision may deteriorate to the point of irreversibility. The earlier these conditions are detected, the more easily and successfully they can be treated.

The Iowa Optometric Association, along with the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology, also released the following joint statement:

"The Iowa Optometric Association and the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology stress the importance of good vision and healthy eyes. Recognizing the importance of vision in learning, both organizations recommend that children between the ages of six months and four years, who do not show signs of visual defects, receive a scientifically validated vision screening to rule out undetected vision problems. If a parent suspects a vision problem, for their child of any age, both organizations recommend the child receive a comprehensive eye examination from an ophthalmologist or optometrist."

For more information, contact the Iowa Optometric Association at 515-222-5679, or visit online at www.iowaoptometry.org. Information can also be obtained through the "Coming to Your Senses" office at 319-353-7616, or online at www.uihealthcare.com/eyecare.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACT(S): Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.