The Children’s Eye Foundation was incredibly saddened to hear of the recent passing of former board member Cyd McDowell Hallett. Cyd will forever be remembered for her devotion and dedication as a warrior for children’s eye health. We will miss her fun-loving, quick-witted, compassionate and giving spirit. She was truly one of a kind.
Cyd was deeply honored when CEF published “Charlie’s Story” last August. Charlie was a fictional character that (somewhat) told the story of her own son’s preventable vision loss, and the urgency of vision screening awareness. CEF will always be immensely grateful for Cyd and in her honor, we are re-sharing Charlie’s Story below. The advancements in children’s vision are because of parents and people like Cyd.
You can stop preventable vision loss.
This is a story about real children, real heroes and real hope.
Charlie is a busy, playful 3-year boy who doesn’t know that he doesn’t see well. He has amblyopia but no one knows this yet. To him, his vision is “normal.” Charlie is surrounded by loving parents, good doctors, and caring teachers. But his symptoms are silent. His eye problem is missed. They don’t know he has a problem that will cause vision loss for life, because no one has checked. A simple vision screening could detect his problem. Without this screening, his problem is missed.
Charlie is surrounded by a world that is attentive to safety & nutrition, sleep & fitness, and reading & writing. Yet his treatable eye problem remains undetected. It won’t go away on its own. It must be treated when he is young. As the visual system in his brain matures, treatment options diminish. By the time he is in middle school, his vision loss will be permanent, irreversible, lost forever.
Charlie’s vision loss is preventable at an early age. Treatment now can correct his eye disorder. “Catch me if you can,” says amblyopia, the silent thief of sight.
Fast forward in time… Charlie may be graduating from high school, the whole world ahead of him – well, not the whole world. New doors may be opening in his life, but some are permanently closed because he can’t see well in one eye. Without good vision in both eyes, Charlie’s depth perception will be limited. He won’t be able to be a pilot, or a police officer. He won’t be able to join some branches of the military. 3-D movies will fall flat, and his career options will be somewhat reduced. It’s too late now for treatment. If only Charlie’s parents hadn’t failed to SEE IT – to Screen Eyes Early, to catch amblyopia In Time, to save sight.
Fortunately, this wasn’t Charlie’s fate. Charlie’s mom heard about vision screening from another parent in her social media circle who shared a reminder from a cute little owl named SeeMore. The reminder said: “You Can Stop Preventable Vision Loss! See your best. Get a back-to-school vision test!” Charlie’s mom called his pediatrician and found out that there is a very quick test that has been proven accurate, based on sound scientific research that can screen for vision problems.
Charlie got his screening the very next week. He failed, but this screening failure turns into success, because his parents took him to a pediatric eye physician called a pediatric ophthalmologist, where he got a complete eye exam. His condition was diagnosed and is now being treated. Complete correction is expected: no loss of vision. Because he got screened and treated, Charlie will see with good vision for life!
In this story, Charlie is a fictional character, but in real-life, there are hundreds of thousands of children with serious vision conditions that are detected too late. 20 years ago, when amblyopia was missed, it was hard to catch serious problems with screening, but today’s screening methods are better. Today, failure to screen every child is unacceptable. This generation can finally STOP preventable vision loss, and can SAVE SIGHT in hundreds of thousands of kids.
This post is dedicated to Cyd McDowell, the mother of a child who is a real-life example of the importance of early detection. His eye condition was missed – until his vision was completely lost in his left eye. Luckily, through the skill of a wonderful pediatric ophthalmologist, his sight was restored. Thank you Cyd for challenging CEF to “SEE To IT” so this generation of parents knows to get their kids’ vision screened. Early detection and treatment saves sight.
SEE To IT! Screen Eyes Early … starting at age 1 … to detect amblyopia in time … to save sight …
Parents: You can and you must do your part to STOP preventable vision loss. Learn more at www.SeeMore.Today