To: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary for Health and Human Services

Children and Youth Need Comprehensive Vision Care

The Affordable Care Act includes vision care for children. It is an opportunity to assure that vision care is truly comprehensive and includes detection and treatment for binocular vision problems, attention to how long and well a child can focus on the printed work. We believe 25% of our children and likely more struggle to read because their eyes are not working well together and the struggle to maintain focus makes concentration and memory problematic.

Why is this important?

We have been working on children's vision issues for several years and are alarmed at the number of children and youth who are not doing as well as they should in school because they have never had a comprehensive vision examination that includes assessment of their binocular vision problems. SB 430 in the California Legislature would check all children for binocular vision issues by the third grade. All states should check children well before they start school, by the time they are in the third grade and every other year thereafter. This is a big year for National implementation of the ACA and state initiatives like
SB 430 and the State Health Care Innovation Plan in Washington State, which should be paying attention to binocular vision problems of children and youth.