One out of 10 school-aged children has eye or vision problems, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Seventy five percent of this number has errors of refraction or yung hindi mai-focus nang maigi ng mata ang images around it. Usually, blurred ang vision pag may ganito.
The remaining 25% naman, may amblyopia o “lazy eye,” kung saan humihina ang paningin dahil hindi tuluy-tuloy ang transmission ng visual signals o stimuli mula optic nerve sa mata papuntang brain. Dahil dito, hindi clear ang pag-form ng images and may problems din sa depth at motion perception ang bata.
Kapag bumabagsak ang bata sa school, sinasabing mahina agad ito.
Pero most of the time, this is not the real reason.
Tuwing opening of classes, hindi na bago ang news items about kids who cannot concentrate on their lessons because of overcrowding in the classroom.
Pero yun nga, ang totoong reason pala ay malabo ang eyesight niya.
That is why the Philippine Eye Research Institute (PERI) of the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines Manila is pushing for mandatory vision testing for those going to school.
PERI Director Dr. Leo Cubillan believes having a compulsory vision test will help stop or decrease the incidence of blindness among kids. [PERI Office: (02) 5247119]
Kung hindi kasi magamot ang batang may “lazy eye” bago siya mag-7 years old, it will lead to blindness.
DOH is open to this proposal but it will be up to the Department of Education (DepEd) to decide. Kung gagawin kasi itong requirement sa pag-enrol, it means na dapat magpatingin sa eye specialist ang bawat batang papasok sa school.
Sa ngayon, may mga public hospital sa provinces na nagbibigay ng free eye consultation for children entering the pre-school level. Pero kadalasan, very limited ang ganitong public service. Hindi naman pantay-pantay ang rates ng private ophthalmologists for vision tests.
Sabi ng DepEd, kailangan pa muna nilang pag-aralan ang proposal dahil hindi ito madaling gawin. Kung sasagutin daw kasi ito ng public school system, kailangan ng budget o kaya’y partnership with non-government organizations that are willing to subsidize or conduct vision tests.