Rapp’s Early Childhood Vision Care Education Act Clears House
HARRISBURG—Sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean), legislation directing the PA Department of Health to establish the Early Childhood Vision Care Education Program (House Bill 477) unanimously passed the state House today.
“The purpose of this legislation is to encourage all Pennsylvania citizens to make themselves, their families and their communities aware that early recognition of childhood eye disorders and diseases results in more effective treatment that can be both sight-saving and even life-saving,” said Rapp. “For example, if left untreated, retinoblastoma is almost always fatal, but with early detection and appropriate treatment, the overall survival rate increases to 95 percent.”
The National Institute of Health reports that many vision problems develop before children reach school age. Fewer than 15 percent of all preschool children receive an eye exam and fewer than 22 percent of preschool children receive some type of vision screening. The most common disabling childhood vision disorders include amblyopia, strabismus and significant refractive errors.
Retinoblastoma, which is easily detected through a routine examination, is among the most common pediatric cancers resulting in malignant tumors on the retina. Rapp encourages Pennsylvania citizens to seek out more information online at Retinoblastoma.net.
“I put forth a resolution similar to this bill in 2008, and it was really driven because of a family in McKean County that came to me and conversations I had with Warren optometrist, Dr. Jim Spangler regarding raising public awareness about retinoblastoma,” said Rapp. “Final passage of the Early Childhood Vision Care Education Act will send the message that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is making every effort to ensure that all of our children receive a vision exam from their health care provider before they reach 5 years of age.”
House Bill 477 now moves to the Senate for consideration. For the latest legislative updates, visit RepRapp.com.
Representative Kathy Rapp
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin