De Lima calls on senators to support National Sight Strategy Plan Act
Senator Leila De Lima asked her fellow senators to heed the health experts’ warning on the growing number of children suffering from myopia or near-sightedness caused by constant use of electronic gadgets and prioritize the “National Sight Strategy Plan Act” she filed last February.
De Lima said that “the rise in visual impairment among children poses a serious public health issue,” considering that sight is among the most important senses.
“I hope that after the DOH (Department of Health) raised the alarm on what it described as ‘epidemic’ of near-sightedness among children, my colleagues in the Senate will be compelled to expedite the passage into law of my proposed bill,” De Lima said in a statement on Sunday.
The senator made the call after the DOH earlier raised an alarm over the growing number of children in developed cities like Metro Manila and Metro Cebu who are now suffering from myopia or near-sightedness due to constant use of electronic gadgets.
According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, the rise in visual impairment among school-age children can be attributed to excessive use of gadgets which have been tapped as “babysitter” to keep the children occupied.
Domingo, who is also an ophthalmologist, claimed the excessive use of gadgets can hamper the development of a child’s eyesight, which according to other health experts, may also lead to focal seizures and other mental health problems.
Under De Lima’s proposed measure, the DOH will be mandated to formulate a National Sight Strategy that would address the collection, collation, organization and publication of data and statistics on the incidence and prevalence of vision abnormalities.
Moreover, the DOH shall lead in the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to address vision health issues, including the conduct of public education promoting and improving vision health at all ages.
The proposed measure also mandates the DOH to take the lead in the development of the study and practice of vision health-related professions and the undertaking of studies and consultation to formulate recommendations on the inclusion of vision care services in national health programs. /ee
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