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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 5, 2017 02:37 PM
From: Representative Mark Rozzi
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship - Adding eye disorders to newborn screening
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would add eye disorders to the list of genetic diseases that hospitals must screen newborns for in Pennsylvania.

I learned of the seriousness of eye ailments when my chief of staff's son was born with glaucoma. High pressure caused damage to the optic nerve before Lawrence was diagnosed and he has sustained multiple surgeries and procedures and is doing well with medication. Lawrence will wear glasses for the rest of his life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends vision evaluation, including red reflex testing, during the neonatal period and during all subsequent routine health visits. The red reflex test uses transmission of light from an ophthalmoscope through all the normally transparent parts of a subject's eye and can be performed by any primary care clinician trained in this examination technique.

Early detection of vision-threatening and potentially life-threatening vision abnormalities, such as cataracts, glaucoma, leukokoria, retinoblastoma and other retinal abnormalities, and systemic diseases with ocular manifestations and high refractive errors, is vital for early treatment of ocular diseases that occur frequently in newborns and infants.

The red reflex test will enable infants and their families to obtain necessary comprehensive evaluation, treatment and intervention services at the earliest opportunity. It will also prevent or mitigate the developmental delays and excessive costs associated with late identification of vision abnormalities.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation to ensure the health and safety of newborns and infants throughout the Commonwealth.

Introduced as HB380