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Free specialist eye care for Central Otago babies

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Free specialist eye care for Central Otago babies

Wanaka optometrist Eyes on Ardmore launched its InfantSEE programme today, which will offer all babies and toddlers under three a free professional eye exam.

The event was held at the Upper Clutha Plunket in Wanaka and included face painting, balloons and information about eye health and vision problems in infants.

Wanaka mum Abi Casey says she knows the importance of getting infants’ eyes examined after her son Ben was diagnosed with an aggressive cancerous tumor in his left eye when he was three and a half.

Abi brought Ben into Eyes on Ardmore with a suspected lazy eye in November 2012, and after a quick exam he was immediately referred to Dunedin hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer. He was then sent on to Christchurch hospital for an operation to remove his left eye.

Ben’s eye was replaced with a prosthetic eye that he sadly cannot see out of, but Abi says he is lucky to be alive.

“If we had known to take Ben to have his eyes examined sooner, they would likely have picked up the cancer and he may not have lost his left eye,” she says.

Eyes on Ardmore owner and principal optometrist Danielle Pretty says the experience she had with Ben was one of the main inspirations for her to launch InfantSEE.

“The screening tests babies receive at birth and in their first year are a great start, but for peace of mind a more thorough eye exam should be carried out by an optometrist around the six month mark and again at 18 months.

“We’re offering parents the chance to bring their babies and toddlers in for their first optometrist visit at no cost. It’s an opportunity for us to give back to a community who are always so supportive of us,” she says.

Eyes on Ardmore will also be offering the InfantSEE programme at its new Queenstown clinic opening later this year.

- Ends -

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