By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay is pushing for the establishment of a national senior vision services program dedicated to providing medical and other needed services for the country’s senior citizens that have functional visual impairments.
“The eye is an important organ of the human body that is used in everyday life. As they age, elderly people encounter different problems that lead to impairment of visual functions,” said Binay, in pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2157, otherwise known as the Senior Vision Services Act.
“It is our duty to provide senior citizens with health care services that will assist them in adapting to visual impairments brought about by aging,” Binay further said.
The senator said the bill primarily seeks to protect and promote the health and welfare of all senior citizens by creating a national senior vision program that will provide comprehensive services for their functional visual impairments.
Under the bill, elderly citizens with functional vision impairment may avail of medical services such as vision screening, eye examination, provision of corrective eye glasses, client and family counseling, information and referrals for ophthalmological, optometric, or other health care services.
The program mandates the Department of Health (DOH), the lead agency tasked to implement the program, to also offer technical assistance and training for human services personnel to serve persons who are blind or visually impaired.
Likewise, the DoH shall take into consideration the lack of services for elderly persons in need of vision services, and to establish or expand existing blind or visually impaired services currently available in municipalities and cities throughout the country.
Under the bill, the DOH chief would be required to submit to Congress a report before the end of the year of the status of the program’s implementation.
The report should include financial reports of the program operations; analysis of the program’s ability to provide such services on a national level; their recommendations to ensure continuity of the program and other information deemed necessary.
Funds to be used for the implementation of the program would be sourced from the DOH budget under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).