Lawmaker wants pupils’ eyes checked to prevent blindness | Inquirer News

Lawmaker wants pupils’ eyes checked to prevent blindness

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 03:01 PM November 30, 2014

Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco. Photo from

Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco. Photo from

MANILA, Philippines–A lawmaker is proposing the mandatory vision screening of kindergarten pupils for the early detection and treatment of “lazy eye,” one of the primary causes of blindness among children worldwide.

Pangasinan Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco recently filed House Bill No. 5190, which seeks to create the National Vision Screening Program (NVSP) to check the eyes of kindergarten-level children in the public schools.


Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is a condition often caused by a high degree of disparity in refractive power between the eyes, which afflicts two to five percent of all children, said Cojuangco in her explanatory note to the bill.


“The condition is treatable, with a high success rate if done before the age of 7. This declines significantly beyond that age,” she said.

“When the opportunity passes, amblyopic children most likely end up with permanent visual impairment. At worst, they could become blind,” Cojuangco added.

Because it would impossible for eye doctors to examine every child in the country, she said a national vision screening program would be a fast and cost-effective means of checking the children’s vision.

Early visual problems

Among the objectives of the NVSP are to identify early childhood visual problems and to provide immediate attention to visually impaired kindergarten pupils, and to set up a referral system so that they may be checked and treated by eye specialists.

The NVSP also aims to develop a vision screening results database for all kindergarten pupils and conduct continuing research on the state of visual impairment among these preschoolers.


Under the bill, the Department of Education shall be the lead implementing agency for the NVSP.

In coordination with the Department of Health and the Philippine Eye Research Institute (Peri), the NVSP will administer the vision-screening program to all public kindergarten pupils subject to the written consent of their parents or legal guardians.

The DepEd is also tasked to develop a system of referral and corrective measures for kindergarten pupils who are suspected or diagnosed to have eye ailments, as well as create a vision-screening database wherein the results of the screening of each child could be found.

The bill creates a Vision Screening Continuing Research (VSCR) Fund to be sourced from donations or bequests made to the DepEd in favor of the NVSP. The VSCR Fund will finance the Peri’s continuing research program into childhood-related eye vision ailments.

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Private schools will assume the funding of the vision screening program in their respective institutions, according to the bill.

TAGS: Congress, Education, House bill, lazy eye, pupils

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