Posted by: Janet Hughes | July 30, 2009

No deal. Final rule flawed.

j0396078Twenty-two months of hard work and high hopes for the Kids Eyes Count Campaign in Illinois ended this summer with “no deal.”

IDPH rejected the Vision First form, and JCAR approved a flawed rule.

The final State of Illinois Eye Examination Report was at last released along with the rulemaking for Illinois’ new eye exam law.

“No deal” is no surprise to Illinois.  August 2007, former Governor Blagojevich shocked supporters of better eye care for kids when he vetoed Senate Bill 641.

Two months later, Illinois legislators overrode his veto into law. Illinois became the third State in the nation to ensure all children starting school would have an eye exam by an eye doctor.

Too bad the intent of this law is not reflected in the final Rulemaking.  Our suggestions to improve the State of Illinois form were rejected, and our concerns about the proposed Rule were ignored.

Here is a brief summary:

  • The Rule for the vision law from 1987 was repealed. School boards will no longer be encouraged to adopt a policy of required eye exams along with required health exams at grades 6 and 9.  Isn’t academic learning estimated to be 80% visual?
  • Also repealed in that Rule for the Vision Law of 1987 was the assurance that children on free and reduced lunch would get an eye exam. Instead of seeking help from non-profit groups such as Vision First and the Lions Club, the State is now promoting a waiver or a reason NOT to have an eye exam!
  • When a child fails a school’s vision screening, parents will still receive the IDPH “Vision Examination Report.” I recommended this report be renamed to the what it really is… the IDPH “Vision Screening Report.”  I pointed out the doctor’s section should be replaced with the use of the new “Eye Examination Report.” Guess what? IDPH said they wanted ONE FORM and that there would only be ONE FORM for eye exams.  Geez… doesn’t this make two forms?

“No deal” IS a big deal.

I love this quote:  “If at first you don’t succeed, try another way.”

I can…

and I will.

Past posts about the Vision First form:

  New ImageHere’s the deal… “Illinois” Hold ’em Style! May 18, 2009
Millions of children’s eyes are at stake. So here’s the deal… This was my last attempt seeking approval of our Vision First form by the Illinois Department of Public Health before the rulemaking was final for Illinois’ new eye exam law… in “Illinois” Hold ‘em style!

Photo Janet and MikeVision First Form Rejected? April 19, 2009
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. This post includes the Department’s objections countered by the Voice of Reason and Common Sense. Also includes many compliments!

website-photo-julie-no-glasses-at-poolVision 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.

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.

Website Photo Amy and Mommy in 2001Vision 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.

website-photo-mark-at-pool-2Top 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.

photo-surprised-woman-readingEmergency 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.

website-photo-floyd-woods-07We 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.

j0162959Nanny 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!

Check out this great video on a convergence insufficiency:

Copyright (c) 2009 Vision First Foundation. All rights reserved.


  1. I’m proud Illinois is the first state with “Amy’s Law” and the third state with a required eye exam before starting school. No child should experience school with an uncorrected vision problem.

    Vision First is an exciting new non-profit group for children’s vision. Even though my home state of Illinois has not embraced us yet, I will not give up hope that someday they will.

    I also want to wish a special friend of mine a Happy 84th Birthday today…Dr. Floyd Mizener. Thanks for always being there and encouraging me to keep fighting for what’s best for the kids. Your support and friendship has made a difference in my life!

  2. Give ’em hell, Janet!

  3. Hi Janet!

    Sorry to hear that they do not care….. but just look at the system…..

    Somehow all the people seem to think that children’s eye care is already good enough……

    I am not surprised at all….I have expected nothing else. It’s very hard to change this world…and without people power nothing really happens!

    It’s important that you focus on the parents and make sure that they will care about their children’s eyes and vision! One child at a time…

    All the best and don’t give up!


  4. You fought a good fight and I know that this unfortunate incident will not deter you from your mission.



  6. I am surprised they didn’t buy it either. Guess it is always about money?!

  7. Janet,

    What is so sad is the fact that our so called “Elected Officials” do not listen to the voters anymore!

    For example: The voters were against a bailout for the automakers… and our elected officials voted for it anyway!

    The voters vote against a tax levy… the elected officials hold special elections and keep holding them… until it passes!

    It is now a tossup as to who has the worst state officials in the nation… New Jersey, New York or Illinois and judging by the problems you have been having with this very important issue I would have to say that Illinois is up there!


  8. I’m with Alice; Give ’em hell Janet! Keep fighting the good fight!

  9. Keep up the good work Janet , eventually you will win !! Thanks for all you do !!!

  10. Parents, Educators and Legislators now realize that comprehensive vision examinations has to replace the old fashioned acuity vision screenings, which is like taking a pulse to say you had a physical.

    Children’s comprehensive eye and vision examinations by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is the only way to detect the multitude of eye and vision anomalies.

    Our childen deserve to be completely visually examined, parents are alerted to what is best, and are now demanding such.

  11. In summary, digesting the whole picture what should be a no brainer, “that all children should have a comprehensive eye and vision in their developmental years.” You run into a political and economic power play,that has been resisting your efforts.

    It is a miracle that the bills got past some of this resistance, but now is the hurdle of the the parents ,teachers and followers to be able to have their input into the proper administration of the law. Whether it’s the screeners and its waste of tax dollars or the jocking in position by the eye professionals to stack the referrals to benefit one profession over the other, these issues will be haunting what is best for final outcome of the childrens vision testing and interfering with the parents’ voice.

    Only you…the parents, teachers and friends with the help of our legislators could have broken down this gate of long standing.

    Dr. Mizener

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