March 01, 2004
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President Carter encourages support of infant vision program

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ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter urged physicians to support InfantSee, a national charitable program developed to raise public awareness of the importance and significance of infant eye care. President Carter gave the keynote speech here at the SECO International optometry meeting.

President Carter said he and his wife Rosalind became strong advocates for early vision testing in children when two of their 11 grandchildren entered elementary school with undetected amblyopia. The Carters are now spokespersons for the program.

"Only 30% [of U.S. children] under the age of 6 years have an eye exam, and, of those, only one third have an eye exam from an eye care professional. If you multiply one third by 30% you get 10%. So what has been happening to the other 90%?” President Carter asked the audience. “They go to elementary school and into the first grade without an eye exam, an examination of their most precious physical possession — their eyes — from a specialist."