In March 2020, the Florida Senate passed a resolution recognizing August in Florida as Amblyopia Awareness Month, thanks to the efforts of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO) and their charitable arm the For Eye Care Foundation (FECF). Amblyopia, more commonly recognized as “lazy eye,” often occurs when vision in one eye doesn’t develop properly, making it weaker than the other. It is the most common cause of permanent vision loss in children but, if caught early enough, can be prevented and treated.
“Our goal is to bring awareness around a vision issue that can be prevented if caught early enough,” said Darby D. Miller, MD, MPH, President, Florida Society of Ophthalmology; Board of Trustees, For Eye Care Foundation, Inc. “The FSO and the FECF are dedicated to providing information and resources for parents and guardians so that they understand the critical role they play in preventative eye care, and the importance of early vision screenings.”
Amblyopia is caused by other vision issues such as refractive error (meaning the shape of the eye doesn’t bend light in the correct way), misalignment of the eyes (strabismus), cataracts, corneal opacities, and tumors such as retinoblastoma. Nearly 1 in every 20 children will be diagnosed with amblyopia, yet fewer than 20 percent of preschool children are currently screened for vision problems. The best way to help children is to ensure that they are getting early and regular vision screenings. The FSO and the FECF are dedicated to promoting preschool vision screenings in Florida, with a goal to test all children statewide between the ages of three and five.
“Almost on a whim, we participated in a free, public vision screening that was held by the For Eye Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the FSO, and we are so glad that we did,” said Erin Miller of West Palm Beach, parent of a child that was diagnosed with a vision issue from a vision screening. “We are the perfect example of how early vision screenings can be beneficial and, thanks to the information we received, we were able to take action and help our child.”
It is important to note that the best course of action should be determined by a child’s pediatrician or ophthalmologist, so that age appropriate care can be provided. For more resources and information, visit www.MDEye.org/Amblyopia.
About the Florida Society of Ophthalmology
The Florida Society of Ophthalmology is the state’s leading advocate for providing Floridians the highest standard of eye care. The FSO’s mission is to promote and protect the medical specialty of ophthalmology through active participation in legislative advocacy and providing continuing medical education and responsible information to its members, physicians, and the citizens of Florida. Please visit www.mdeye.org for more information.
About the For Eye Care Foundation, Inc.
The For Eye Care Foundation, Inc. is the charitable arm of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology, an organization of ophthalmologists devoted delivering the highest standard of eye care throughout the state of Florida. The For Eye Care Foundation, Inc., formed in 2010 by the Florida Society of Ophthalmology, assists other eye care organizations with community outreach and delivers important public service messages regarding eye care and disease. Please visit www.mdeye.org/foreyecare for more information.