FOUR RULES FOR REFRACTING INFANTS AND CHILDREN

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SELFIES FOR INFANTSEE
The Donate a Photo Campaign helps your selfies benefit charitable causes.. The
InfantSEE program, managed by Optometry Cares ““ The AOA Foundation, ensures that vision care becomes a part of infant wellness. For every photo shared through the Donate a Photo App, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will donate $1 to a cause of your choice. InfantSEE will be one of the listed charities until August 13, 2016. What’s more, you can upload a selfie once a day to contribute! Visit donateaphoto.com for more information.

From short attention spans to shut eyes, here’s how to overcome some challenges of working with children.

Although I have always had a love for children, I will be the first to admit that pediatric patients can be intimidating. Having to rely heavily on objective testing when we are accustomed to at least some input from our patients can feel strange.

Examining children requires us to dust off our retinoscopes and direct ophthalmoscopes and put them to good use once again. These tiny patients don’t always look where we want them to, when we want them to, and sometimes they won’t even keep their eyes open. Further complicating the exam are short attention spans and quick mood changes. As challenging as it can be to examine infants and children, I believe it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my practice.

SUCCESS STORY
I will never forget the little girl accompanying her father for his contact lens check who sat shy and quietly in her princess dress on her dad’s lap. Immediately upon introducing myself to her, I noticed a large esotropia. After examining her father, I politely inquired about the child. Her father explained that they had attempted to see an ophthalmologist, but they were booked out so far that they gave up. Unfortunately, he was inappropriately told by another medical professional that nothing could be done for his daughter. After I performed a comprehensive exam of her, I discovered that she was a large hypermetrope (+8.00D and +5.00D). A week later with her first pair of glasses, she immediately began to blossom. At our follow-up visit her dad stated she was a new girl and developmentally had grown leaps and bounds. She wasn’t so quiet and shy anymore.

STEPS FOR SUCCESS
Fortunately, I have learned a few things during my practice that all optometrists can incorporate to make the challenge of refracting infants and children easier:

1. Have a plan and have all equipment readily available.

2. Be efficient. You have a short window for cooperation.

3. Have fun and don’t be afraid to engage them through play. It’s ok to be the fun doctor.

4. Become an InfantSEE provider. I have found that being an InfantSEE provider is advantageous to my practice. The program provides examination guides, videos plus educational and marketing tools for both patients and provider. Since one in four children have a vision problem, getting these patients in the door proves to be invaluable. Helping to ensure that every child can see ensures that every child can learn.

Brittany E. Radke, OD, is in private practice in Madison WI.

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