Senator Sonny Angara welcomed the signing into law of Republic Act 11358 or the National Vision Screening Act as a vital tool for parents to catch eye problems of their children at an early age and address these while they still can.
Angara, who is the principal author of the law in the Senate, said the law will “provide parents some degree of comfort in knowing that whatever problems there are with the eyesight of their young children will be detected right away” through vision screening tests done while they are still in kindergarten.
“Ang problema sa mga bata na edad 5 o 6 ay hindi pa nila alam kung may problema na sila sa mga mata nila. Kadalasan ang nangyayari ay sa panahon na nalaman ng mga magulang nila na may problema ay malala na ito at mahirap nang maagapan,” Angara said.
“Once we have the vision screening program in place in all kindergarten levels of schools, then the parents will be able to immediately consult their eye doctors to treat the eye or visual problems of their children,” Angara added.
Under the law, the vision screening program will be implemented by the Department of Education, in coordination with the Department of Health and the Philippine Eye Research Institute.
Once the proper training for the teachers is completed, vision screening kits, consisting of charts with symbols or numbers, occluders and transparent response key, will be provided to all schools to test the eyesight of the children.
If and when new modes of vision screening become available, these will be adopted for the use in the schools.
A vision screening database containing the results of the screening per child and visual conditions diagnoses by the eye care practitioners will also be established for monitoring purposes.
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation will be tasked to develop a benefit package for the consultation and treatment of eye diseases of children.
“Hindi naman kasi lahat ng pamilya ay may kakayahan na gumastos para sa pagpapagamot ng mga sakit sa mata ng anak nila. Ayaw naman natin na mangyari na papabayaan na lang ang ito dahil sa walang pera na pang check up at pambili ng salamin,” Angara said.
“Many of these vision problems, if not treated, can cause permanent visual impairment, which in turn could very well adversely affect their education and eventually their occupation and way of life in the future,” Angara added.