Patti Blagojevich announces pediatric vision
First initiative in the nation specifically
aimed at diagnosing and
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CHICAGO -- Taking a
significant step in the fight to protect children's vision, Illinois
first lady Patti Blagojevich launched a new statewide awareness
campaign April 21 to educate parents about amblyopia. Amblyopia, or
"lazy eye," is the most common cause of serious vision impairment in
children. At the Chicago Children's Museum, Mrs. Blagojevich
announced Illinois is the first state in the nation to launch an
awareness campaign that specifically targets amblyopia.
"As a parent, I never really
understood just how common and how serious amblyopia could be.
Parents and doctors need to work together to catch the problem
early. It's not easy for doctors to test young children's eyesight.
But, if parents understand more about amblyopia, I believe that
increased awareness will help save the vision of many children,"
Patti Blagojevich said.
Amblyopia affects 2 percent to
3 percent of all children and is caused by a severe vision problem
in one eye. If it is detected in time, amblyopia can almost always
be successfully treated. But, about 50 percent of the time, no one
realizes there is a problem, and children can lose their vision in
As part of the statewide
awareness campaign, Gov. Blagojevich declared April as Amblyopia
Awareness Month. During the month of April, families and physicians
alike will become more aware of the seriousness of the disorder and
its lifelong effects.
To learn more about amblyopia
or to find out how a child can be tested, Illinoisans can call the
Department of Public Health's Vision and Hearing program toll-free
at 1 (800) 547-0466. People without health insurance can call 1
(866) 4-OUR-KIDS to receive information about KidCare, the state
health insurance program for children.
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State partners in the amblyopia
awareness campaign include the Illinois Department of Public Aid,
the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of
Human Services, the Department of Public Health, and the State Board
of Education. The Illinois Optometric Association, the Illinois
Association of Ophthalmology, the Illinois Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics and the Illinois Pediatric Vision Foundation
also joined the effort to promote amblyopia awareness.
we all work together to make sure parents and doctors are
well-informed about the seriousness of amblyopia, we can prevent it
and help protect the vision of all Illinois children," said Mrs.
[News release from the governor's