Aetna Better Health of Illinois®, a CVS Health® company (NYSE: CVS), announced that Aetna® has provided a community investment of $75,000 to Plano Childhood Development Center to help children receive the eyecare and intervention they need.
Studies show that children exposed to screens before age three are more likely to have developed myopia, an eye condition, which can cause blurred far vision, short-sightedness or near-sightedness, by pre-school age. Once myopia develops in children it typically deteriorates over time, is a significant concern to quality of life and poses a risk to long-term eye health.
“The pandemic shifted the way children learned – they were constantly in front of screens,” said Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown, executive director, Plano Child Development Center. “As a result, we’ve seen an increase in near-sightedness amongst children. With Aetna’s support, we’ve been able to nearly double the number of students enrolled in vision therapy. These students have received glasses, eye-care follow up and are on track to continue to receive the care they need. Our partnership with Aetna has been instrumental in helping us expand care to children that need it most.”
“Aetna is committed to making sure children receive the care they need,” said Lakshmi Emory, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “Investing in Plano Child Development Center helps us ensure an organization that has been at the forefront of pediatric eyecare intervention for over 50 years can continue to provide children with essential care.”
Aetna has awarded over $700,000 in community investments in 2023 to support various Illinois organizations who assist Medicaid members with access to healthy food, job development, housing support, maternal and child health and access to care.
Plano Child Development center aims to effectively identify and evaluate educationally disadvantaged youth with underdeveloped and/or inefficient visual processing systems. Additionally, through vision therapy programs, the organization works to remediate those visual problems.
Vision therapy is a treatment program used to improve visual conditions and help individuals learn, relearn, or reinforce specific vision skills like eye movement control, focusing control, eye teaming, eye-hand coordination and visual perception.
Aetna Better Health of Illinois offers access to quality, affordable health care to individuals through the state’s HealthChoice Illinois Medicaid program. The health plan serves over 420,000 members in 102 counties.