Article Date: 7/1/2005

o.d. to o.d.
Optometry Shines Brightly on National Television
A "Today Show" segment illustrates to the nation that optometrists not only provide care, they do care.
BY WALTER D. WEST, O.D., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor

Last month on the "Today Show," Scott Jens, O.D., did himself and optometrists everywhere proud. Dr. Jens, a representative from the American Optometric Association, and President Jimmy Carter announced the "birth" of the InfantSEE program, which is sponsored by the AOA and Vistakon. Show host Matt Lauer led the discussion and his questions as well as insights were right on the money.

Optometry was in the spotlight during that segment. The show recognized the efforts of hundreds of AOA officers, committee members and state representatives — along with some 7,000 volunteers from the ranks of the AOA — for their accomplishments in delivering the program to the infants of the United States.


InfantSEE: Your Practice's Opportunity to Shine


InfantSEE, a program dedicated to the vision care needs of infants, launches this summer. Optometrists who sign up for the program agree to provide comprehensive eye assessments for infants within the first year of life as a no-cost public health service. According to statistics cited by the program, one in every 10 children is at risk from undiagnosed eye and vision problems. Former President Jimmy Carter will promote InfantSEE through a public service announcement. The program is sponsored by the American Optometric Association and the Vision Care Institute of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. For more information, visit or

The excitement builds

The excitement of the moment for optometry as a profession, and specifically members of the AOA, was enhanced by the endorsement of President Carter. He explained how a program such as InfantSEE could have provided timely detection and treatment of amblyopia in two of his grandchildren.

When President Carter was asked how he had been able to get some 7,000 optometrists to agree to provide free care, he responded that, "they were already onboard."

The sense that I got from the interview was that optometrists care, as well as provide care. And of all the messages that we can send the general public as well as our patients, the message of caring is the one that we most want them to hear.

For those optometrists who intended to sign up as an InfantSEE volunteer but never got around to it, it's not too late. Patients are just beginning to recognize InfantSEE and flow into the designated practices. If you are interested in participating please contact your AOA representative or visit the AOA website ( for more details.

It's about the service

This is not a time to concern ourselves with who served first but rather who is serving now and who will serve in the future. With InfantSEE, the AOA and all of its participating members have put themselves in the position of the servant, yet in so doing have become leaders.



Optometric Management, Issue: July 2005