Rolling over, sitting up, and crawling are all signs that babies are developing as they should, but what about their eyesight?
They cannot talk, so how do we know they are seeing what they should be?
There is a free vision screening for all babies between six months and one year. It is called InfantSEE, and you can find it right here in Michiana.
One-year-old Grace Artusi may seem a little young for an eye exam, but South Bend Optometrist Dr. Linea Robbins-Winters says she is actually at the perfect age to catch eye problems early.
Dr. Robbins-Winters uses toys as part of her InfantSEE exam.
Grace is asked to reach for things in front of her, and then she is asked to look at a light.
Dr. Robbins-Winters says, “I get to see the reflex of her pupil, and it tells me if her eyes are aligned.”
Next, Dr. Robbins-Winters puts a movie on, which reflects in a mirror facing Grace while she is holding up and sharing trial lenses.
“This tells me the length of the eye…So, she's actually a little far-sighted, which is normal for her age. You expect an infant to be far-sighted at this age. We just want to make sure they're not too far-sighted.”
To check the overall health of Grace's eye, just like adults, her eyes need to be dilated.
Dr. Robbins-Winters gives Grace a fifteen minute break, but says she's already learned a lot.
“We know her eyes are working together. We know her eye movement is good. She does not appear to have one eye weaker than the other.”
The InfantSEE exam is available to any child, regardless of income, thanks to the American Optometric Association and the Vision Care Institute.
“nothing matters, any child that comes in for an InfantSEE exam, there is no charge for them, we won't even file insurance.”
Mishawaka teacher Courtney Koszyk knows just how important the infantSEE eye exam is.
She sees, first hand, how poor eyesight can affect a child's learning, and her 6-year-old daughter Jordan was one of the first patients Dr. Robbins-Winters had when the program started in 2005.
Courtney says, “Jordan had to go through glasses and patching, but now she is doing really well…InfantSEE and Dr. Robbins really saved her vision. Because she was an infant, I would have never had known.”
The doctor says Jordan's vision was really bad.
Dr. Robbins-Winters says, “She has achieved vision of about 20/30 in the weak eye. When we first started this, she was about 22/100.
And in spite of her now 20-30 vision, Jordan hasn't forgotten which eye was her lazy one.
Just in time for first grade, Jordan just picked up her newest glasses.
Knowing how important InfantSEE was to their family, Courtney was more than happy to tell fellow teacher Roxy, Grace’s mom, about it.
With Grace's eyes dilated it's time for Dr. Robbins-Winters to get a better look.
The movie is put on again so Dr. Robbins-Winters can give Grace the last part of her InfantSEE exam.
Grace and her mom get good news. Grace's vision is great, and she should be rechecked at age three and kindergarten.
Roxy was thrilled with that news and the ease of the exam.
She says, “This is not a kid who sits still, she's pretty active, so I think she did a good job and Dr. Robbins was great.”
There are a number of InfantSEE doctors in Michiana.
For more information, you can contact Dr. Robbins-Winters:
Dr. Linnea Marie Robbins-Winters
17477 Generations Dr
South Bend, IN 46635
Also, a link to the InfantSEE website is on the Big Red Bar.