Local doctors bringing infant eye health into focus

WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) - Every parent knows that baby needs regular checkups and vaccinations to stay healthy.  However, one of the most important aspects of development, vision, is often overlooked.

"Unfortunately, what happens with eyes is most parents, they just don't know better. It's not that they're not good parents.  They're just not educated, and they're very reactive with eye care," said Wiggins optometrist Dr. Greg Loose.

InfantSee is a public health program aimed at educating parents on the importance of early eye health.  The program teams up with local optometrists to provide a onetime free, comprehensive exam for infants.

"It's not so much that we're trying to find problems. If we do, that's great because we want to prevent them," said Loose.

Providers will check a baby's vision using pictures and lights. Other instruments check to make sure the eye itself is healthy.  Loose says most eye health issues are treatable, if caught early.

"Unfortunately with vision, if you wait too long, I can tell you what's wrong with your child; I can tell you what caused it; and, I can also tell you there's not much that can be done about it when they're 12 years old," said Loose.

More than health, making sure your child has good vision is key to learning and development.

"They are going to learn more in those first few years than they are their entire life," said Loose who was also a teacher. "If you can't see, you can't learn. Prevention costs much less than treatment."

According to Loose, children can be seen at anytime, but an infant exam is best done between six and 12 months old.  He also suggests avoiding scheduling exams before lunch or immediately after a nap.  The happier and more alert a child is, the smoother the exam with go.

To find an InfantSee provider, click here.

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