Posted by: Janet Hughes | November 6, 2008

CHANGE We Need in Eye Care

website-photo-barack-obama-104“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama

I love this quote. It’s the spirit of America. Congratulations to a man living the American dream—our new leader and my inspiration, President-elect Barack Obama.

Six years ago, I took action for change. My eldest daughter had passed her vision screenings with a major vision problem. Today Illinois has “Amy’s Law” and a required eye exam for children starting school.

President Obama…you asked us to believe, “Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

Here’s my list of real changes needed for children’s vision:

1. The OLD: A public health policy that promotes vision screenings.
CHANGE We Need: A public health policy that promotes comprehensive eye and vision examinations. Vision screenings are inadequate. Let’s bring children’s vision into the 21st century. Learn more about Vision First here…

2. The OLD: From the National Institutes of Health, Healthy People 2010, “Increase the availability of vision screening for pre-school children ages 5 years and under.”
CHANGE We Need: Increase the availability of eye exams for pre-school children ages 5 years and under.  Vision screening is not a substitute for an eye examination.

3. The OLD: More from the Healthy People 2010, “Increase the proportion of people having dilated eye health examinations at regular intervals.”
CHANGE We Need: Increase the proportion of people having comprehensive eye and vision examinations at regular intervals. We shouldn’t neglect vision. A healthy eyeball could still have a functional vision problem.

4. The OLD: Federal bill H.R. 507 and S. 1117, the Vision Care for Kids Act.
CHANGE We Need: A federal bill that provides grant money to States requiring eye exams for children starting school. All children need eye exams, not just those who failed a vision screening. Read more about H.R. 507 here…

5. The OLD: Illinois parents can only submit the State form as proof of an eye exam.
CHANGE We Need: Illinois parents should be able to submit other forms approved by the State, such as the Vision First form, as proof of an eye exam.  The Vision First form ensures a child’s best school supply–healthy eyes and good vision, but the Department of Public Health won’t approve it.

Opponents of change want me to quit.  I’ve been told: public support won’t make a difference; to go away for a few years; and the best yet, we can’t do this because a square peg won’t fit through a round hole.

Guess what? I’ve found many holes in the proposed rule for Illinois’ new eye exam law. Read my objection letter here. And yes…there’s one big enough to fit our square peg.

November 4, 2008 proved democracy is alive and that America IS a place where all things are possible.

Thank you, President Obama.

“Yes we can.”

Barack Obama: “This victory alone is not the change we seek… So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.”
Make a difference here…

Copyright (c) 2008 Vision First Foundation. All rights reserved.


  1. Your blog, Janet, was on target.

    One day the whole nation will have comprehensive eye & vision examinations, as well as all the other countries, thanks to you and your army.

  2. I love your blog, Janet… Even I can understand how much we need the laws to change for better eye tests for children entering school and all through their school years to come.

    I also admire and respect our President-elect Barack Obama … HE can get things done and so can we. God Bless the work you are doing.

    Janet.. I wish I could be more help for you in your quest… our quest. Our children’s future… IS important. IF they cannot see the blackboard or see their surroundings… then they cannot see their future. I wanted to be a scientist… an astronomer… because of my bad eyesight all through school and failing grades… I NEVER saw my dream come true.

    PLEASE pass these new laws so this will never happen to another child who dreams… as I once did.

  3. “Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.” Robert F. Kennedy

    Our children are our future and they are in desperate need of comprehensive eye & vision examinations before it is too late. Dear President Obama, please make this possible.

  4. Dr. Mizener…thank you for affirming I’m right on target. In spite of the opposition trying to sway me from doing what’s best, I will stay focused on the children and doing what’s right.

    Dolores…again, your comments touched my heart. You are right. We need better laws for children’s vision! I will continue to do my part to ensure this happens. You inspire me to keep fighting so no other child fails. May you dream again, Dolores. Hope is back.

    Suzanna…thank you for sharing your excellent quote by Robert F. Kennedy. It’s full of wisdom. Each of us CAN make a difference and together, we can do what we cannot do alone. I hope President Obama grants your wish!

  5. If the public knew of the limitations of vision screenings and limited exams by doctors I think they would be shocked. Keep up the great work in raising public awareness of the need for appropriate vision care.

  6. I would love your help in getting exams for children with parents who can not afford the exams!

  7. […] CHANGE We Need in Eye Care  November 6, 2008 Another post that made the front page at Care2 News Network. November 4, 2008 proved democracy is alive and that America IS a place where all things are possible.  May real changes in children’s eye care become a reality. Feast for Your Eyes  November 26, 2008 My gratitude list of all the good at Vision First Foundation is here.  Includes links to every page on the Vision First website. FYI: “What’s New” has the latest info!  This post also made the front page at Care2 News Network (C2NN) thanks to my wonderful Care2 friends! […]

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