New Bill for Child Eye Exams
The bill also requires first and third graders to have follow up eye exams. Now Sen. Kit Bond wants to see the U.S. Senate to get involved in early eye care.
Children used to seeing blurry objects might not know something was wrong.
"Many times they don't know that they have a problem because they think that everyone sees the way that they do," said Dr. Ralph Butler.
According to doctors, children need annual eye exams starting around age 3. When a child comes in for an eye exam, they would probably take a distance test where they would read numbers from bigger to smaller. The exam might also include a test to see if the child needs eyeglasses and the prescription strength. And finally, they may be administered an eye magnification test where the doctor can actually see inside of the eye. Some programs like Parents as Teachers offer eye exams.
"Once we do screenings, if we detect a possible problem or an issue, we consult with the families and we provide them a link to resources in the community," said Parents as Teachers sponsor Belinda Masters.
Missouri's new law requires kids get screened, but parents have to arrange treatment for whatever the screening reveals. Sen. Kit Bond wants federal funding to help cover the cost of care.
"We also need care for those who we need to provide for the cost of the surgeries and the other procedures that are required," said Bond.
Many eye doctors showed support for the proposal and hoped the bill would take away the financial problems for parents.
"A federal grant would kind of catch and keep those who fall through the cracks on board," explained Butler.
Bond just introduced the bill to the Senate in April. Exact funding hasn't yet been worked out. Additionally, Bond calls for the bill to be tailored to meet each state's specific needs.