“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.” —Anonymous
Despite a resolution adopted by optometrists in 2007 in support of Vision First, Michael Horstman, the executive director of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) objected to Illinois accepting an alternate form for children’s eye exams.
Horstman states in his letter dated November 5, 2008: “We remain extremely concerned about the confusion, lack of coordination and expense that a multi-formed system will create and question the necessity.” Read complete letter here…
Mr. Horstman questions the confusion, expense, and necessity of an alternate form?
June 2002, I questioned the confusion, expense, and necessity of inadequate vision screenings! My eldest daughter’s first eye exam diagnosed a significant vision problem that previous health exams and vision screenings missed. I turned this negative experience for my child into a positive outcome for others.
August 2003, Illinois became the first state with a vision screening disclaimer thanks to the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 805, Public Act 93-0504 or “Amy’s Law.” Parents would be informed that a vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor and given a choice for an eye exam in place of a vision screening. Vision exams would also be encouraged with the health exams. Every state across America needs this same law.
September 2007, Illinois became the third state to require an eye exam for all children starting kindergarten (Public Act 95-0671). Read The Story Behind Senate Bill 641.
The Vision First form references the Vision and Hearing Test Act (Public Act 81-0174) and “Amy’s Law.” The rulemaking offers the opportunity for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and State Board of Education to prescribe the Vision First form for statewide use. Adding the Public Acts for the kindergarten requirement and the law from 1987 allows one report form to support four vision laws!
Mr. Horstman and the Illiniois Department of Public Health disagree.
Here are the objections countered by the voice of reason and common sense:
OBJECTION #1: “Section 27-8.1 of the School Code requires “uniform forms which the Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the State Board of Education (SBE) shall prescribe for statewide use. The Vision First form is different from the IDPH form.”
VOICE OF REASON AND COMMON SENSE: Of course it’s different! The Vision First form is written for the parent and teacher. The IDPH form is written for the doctor. What’s wrong with that? Parents should have a choice. Afterall, parents pay for the exam.
OBJECTION #2: “Approval of multiple forms will create confusion…”
VOICE OF REASON AND COMMON SENSE: It’s too late to prevent confusion. It already exists. Screenings are continually mistaken for exams. Why is the State’s vision screening report entitled, “Vision Examination Report?” I recommended during First Notice that this report be retitled to “Vision Screening Report” with the examining doctor’s section removed since Illinois now has a report form for eye exams. IDPH is keeping this vision report form.
OBJECTION #3: “Failure to report the eye examination on a ‘prescribed form’ would result in the parent requiring the provider to later complete the required form, for which there is often a charge at the doctor’s office.”
VOICE OF REASON AND COMMON SENSE: Vision First is seeking the approval from the State of Illinois for the Preschool and Student Comprehensive Eye and Vision Examination Report. Once approved, it will be stated on the form. See yellow section on sample form here. Do you think doctors who are licensed by the State should know what they’re doing?
OBJECTION #4: “The Department would have no control over changes made to the forms of outside entities, potentially causing confusion regarding the examination mandate.”
VOICE OF REASON AND COMMON SENSE: I disagree. Changes to the Vision First form would follow the same procedure as changes to the IDPH form under the Department’s authority.
OBJECTION #5: “Use of a single form allows more rapid assessment and reporting of data from schools to the State Board of Education, minimizing human error and time requirements for quality assurance.”
VOICE OF REASON AND COMMON SENSE: The eye exam law does not require an assessment of the various diagnoses. Rapid reporting produces accurate results? Let’s focus on what’s right and best for the children.
OBJECTION #6: “School nurses/health services coordinators/health departments and screeners who are charged with assuring that the eye examination has been completed are opposed to multiple forms and the confusion and added labor they would cause (see Joyce Iammartino, RN, et al).”
VOICE OF REASON AND COMMON SENSE: According to public records, only eleven school nurses and screeners objected to more than one form. Oddly, these emails were received after the October 20, 2008 deadline for public comments during First Notice. I read Joyce’s letter. She states, “It was my experience this year that the first examination form (IDPH form) was also confusing for parents and practitioners; the forms were rarely filled out by appropriate professionals and were seldom complete.”
It appears there is a great need for the Vision First form.
Here are the top ten benefits exclusive to the Vision First form:
• Designed for the parent and teacher.
• Provides education on children’s vision.
• Suitable for recommended and required eye exams.
• Emphasizes a comprehensive eye and vision examination.
• Illustrates eye health, visual acuity, refractive evaluation, and visual efficiency.
• Accompanies prewritten letters for schools.
• Contains a vision screening disclaimer.
• Includes a Reference Page for parents and teachers.
• Represents high standards of eye care.
• Brings meaning and purpose to an eye examination.
The Honorable Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and State Senator Christine Radogno, Illinois Deputy Republican Leader, 39 letters along with 1,048 persons from around the world supported the approval of the Vision First form during First Notice.
“As you can see, the Vision First Foundation has anticipated the mandatory eye examination. The Vision First Foundation was one of the primary movers in passing this legislation. The Vision First report form, along with the Reference Page, is the most complete and informative communication between disciplines that has ever been produced. The educator can use this information to enhance a student’s learning program. The form being considered by the state provides very little about helping the child. What a waste of valuable information. Please consider these remarks, not as condemnation, but as a sincere effort to establish for our children the most modern eye and vision care that is available.” Dr. Floyd Woods
“I am concerned with proposed rules written for the Child Health Examination Code. In particular, I object to proposed changes which restrict the proof of eye examination only to the use of the IDPH Eye Examination Report. I support the use of the Vision First form as proof of an eye examination in meeting the requirement of Public Act 95-0671. I believe the department should accept this form as proof of an eye examination.” Michael J. Madigan, Speaker of the House
“As a member of the legislature, I was the original sponsor of Public Act 85-351 that allowed school boards to provide for mandatory vision testing. I truly believed then, and more firmly believe now, that a distinct correlation can be made between good vision and good academics. After reviewing the proposed rule, I am of the opinion that it falls short of reaching the desired goal.” Terry A. Steczo
“I know from personal experience this effort on the part of the Vision First Foundation is not a turf battle. It is not a self-aggrandizing effort. It is a sincere endeavor on the part of mothers and fathers and interested people to do all they can to provide good vision to our youngsters.” Dr. Irving Bennett
“As the director of the Plano Child Development Center, I have diagnosed hundreds of patients who have received previous vision exams or no exams with visual skill deficits that could be treated…It would be a great form to use.” Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown
“To the best children can be visually, and to the Department’s efforts to make it happen.” Dr. Floyd Mizener
“I think this entire project is more than worthwhile. It puts kids’ vision on the map; and it needs to stay there.” Ron
“What I like about the Vision First form is that more people are starting to see that vision is a big part of a child’s education.” Mary
“It is so important we all support this form and raise the standard of eye care our children deserve.” Janice
“This is the first I have heard of Vision First Foundation and having visited their website, am very impressed. Why would their forms be of any less value than the “State of Illiniois Eye Examination Report?” As long as a licensed physician has given the eye exam, what does it matter which form is used?” Pamela
“If the state is to adopt one form, make it the Vision First form!” Marian
“I think this would be an excellent form and resource for school age kids. Being a mother of 6 myself, this is what I’d want for my kids. Please use this form in schools for kids in their need for vision care and prevention.” Cynthia
“Illinois should accept the Vision First form. There is nothing wrong with it and it will help countless children.” Cecilia
“If the new form has more and better information, what is the problem?” Roy
“Opponents of required eye exams have kept state standards at the minimum. The State form is the minimum. The Vision First form ensures a complete exam by an eye doctor is performed. No child should experience school with an uncorrected vision problem… I am totally agreeing with the opinion above!” Eric
“It seems to me like your VFF Form should be the only form that is used. Keep up the great work!” Mark
“We need to protect our children and their future. The Vision First form puts the needs of the child first.” Rupe
“Janet…keep up the fight. This is important to our children.” Robert
“I feel this matter is important and the Vision First form should be used.” Feb
“Vision First? Brilliant idea!” Stephanie
“This should have happened many years ago.” Brad
“Aren’t the children important enough to be taken care of in this matter… please… help to pass this in every state… for all children.” Dee
“Doesn’t this make sense? Our son was considered a ‘slow reader’. Actually, it was a vision problem.” Geri
“Bureaucrats of America, shape up! The Vision First form is simpler and clearer.” Christoph
“We need the Vision First form because it makes the difference between screening and exam clear.” Mary Jay
“I feel that this is a better form than the standard document.” Robert
“The Vision First form and support materials will help the schools to utilize and promote the required vision exams. It is designed to go above and beyond the minimum and that is important when working with children’s vision.” Linda
“Ignoring this request would just give voters more reason to not trust the government with the well-being of our children, our future!” Heidi
“Early detection/Preserve Vision/Better Students.” Joseph
“The explanation to the parents on this form helps to demonstrate to them valuable information regarding their child’s visual health and well-being. Without this explanation, they look upon the requirement as just antoher hurdle to clear for no apparent reason.” Dennis
“I found that the pre-made letters available are a great resource for administrators who have to enforce parents/guardians to obtain the examination. By using the assortment of forms that are available saves them time and misunderstanding. The Vision First form is the way to go.” Audrey
“The Vision First form is a wonderful tool, has been well thought out, and ensures a comprehensive exam for each child.” Martina
“As an optometrist with a special interest in children’s vision, I prefer the Vision First form because it allows me to communicate more completely with the school nurse and teachers.” Kimberly
“The Vision First form goes into greater detail of testing in areas of visual efficiency skills, which are important in school performance. More students with significant vision problems will be identified by use of the Vision First form.” Natalie
“It is very important for the future of our youth. I only wish we could have had this back in my day. Do what’s RIGHT!” Michael
“I believe the Vision First form is awesome for kids, teachers, and parents trying to work on the same page (fulfilling the child’s needs).” Candace
“This critical subject needs support and attention – this will change lives.” Wendy
“As an educator and grandmother of a child who’s entire educational experience has been changed by vision therapy, I support the work of Janet Hughes.” Ella
“This is such a very good thing to support. Everyone’s vision should be a must for all. Our children are our future and to help them with vision is such a great cause.” Brenda
“Stongly in favor!” Srinivas
“Great move, I support whole heartedly.” Lakshmi
“I have used this form for at least the past two school years as a means of communication with school nurses. I find it very comprehensive and it has helped free up the nurses’ time by not screening children who have already had a comprehensive exam.” Shawna
“I am proud that Illinois has taken such a proactive stand for our children.” Ronald
“This is an awesome cause. I personally know a child whose eyesight is impaired now, but if she had the advantage of what this cause stands for she would have good vision now.” Debbie
“Why does it have to be such a hassle to get government approval for such an important thing as a child’s eyesight, especially with needy parents.” Tony
“Be a visionary and support this wonderful Vision First initiative. If you don’t see the importance of Vision First, please look into your heart and you’ll find the answer.” Greg
“Please pass the Vision First Foundation form. The Vision First form is easier to understand.” Laura
“We need the Vision First form to clarify the exam vs. screening. The Vision First form is clear and needed.” Jill
“Great idea!” Eric
“This is an important national issue and Illinois needs to lead the way.” Doug
“Although my kids are grown, my grandchildren are not. I wish for them the best, because I didn’t have that choice for mine. So, do the right thing for a change and make this form not only a law, but mandatory to be used. Then spread its usage thru-out the U.S. and maybe even international. Stop pretending to care about children and start being serious about them.” Larry
This comment broke my heart: “I was one of the unlucky children who went through school not able to see the blackboard or even my teacher. Needless to say, I failed all through school until the day I quit, with the blessings of everyone concerned, at the age of 16. I needed glasses. I did not get them. NO one cared. As a result…I am uneducated and poor. Please do not do this to other children. Please do not destroy any chance of a good job and a good life. ALL children need their eyes examined from year to year while in school.” Dolores
Thank you, Dolores… you sealed my commitment to this cause and the Vision First form.
Vision First cares…
We hope all of you do, too.
Vision First will be promoting the Kids Eyes Count Campaign once the rulemaking is complete for Public Act 95-0671. It is our hope and goal that the State of Illinois will recognize our efforts and accept the Vision First form during the rulemaking process. The rulemaking is scheduled for adoption at the meeting for JCAR review on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. in Springfield.
Support the use of the Vision First form.
Support the approval of the Vision First form as proof of an eye exam.
Past posts about the Vision First form:
Vision First has a great form for eye exams. No Excuses. April 18, 2008
Every parent, school, and eye doctor can freely use the Vision First form for eye exams. This post holds the number one spot for most reads total.
Top Ten Reasons Why May 18, 2008
Here are the “Top Ten Reasons” why the Preschool and Student Comprehensive Eye and Vision Examination Report (Vision First form) should be approved.
Emergency Rule Needs 911 June 28, 2008
Here’s what I have to say about the emergency action taken by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and how it impacts you and the intent of the law.
Nanny state mandate? No way! August 20, 2008
The Chicago Tribune was in the dark about Illinois’ new eye exam law…until I turned the light on! This is my favorite post.
We will miss you, Dr. Woods August 25, 2008
This was the hardest post for me to write. Our dear friend and loyal supporter passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer during the morning of August 25, 2008. Dr. Floyd Woods was one of the primary authors of the Vision First form with Dr. Floyd Mizener, Dr. Irving Kernis, and me.
Dr. K’s Quest for the Vision First Form September 25, 2008
“Dr. K” was a founding honorary board member of Vision First. He was also one of the primary authors of the Vision First form with Dr. Floyd Woods, Dr. Floyd Mizener, and me. He quickly became one of my giants and mentors on this vision mission.
Vision First form upgrades children’s eye care October 12, 2008
Includes the top ten benefits of using the Vision First form AND great comments from our first petition.
Copyright (c) 2009 Vision First Foundation. All rights reserved.