The Italian parliament approved on Dec. 30 the 2021 budget that includes a €50 voucher for the purchase of prescription eyewear and contact lenses for low-income people. The decree implementing the voucher still has to be issued by the health ministry, in coordination with the finance ministry.

The voucher is an initiative that was promoted by the non-profit organization Commissione Difesa Vista (CDV). 

CDV promotes vision and eye health and was founded by trade associations within the industry, including the eyewear manufacturers association, Anfao.

The parliament approved an amendment presented by the lawmaker Paolo Russo that guarantees €5 million in funds annually for the three years to 2023 to finance the voucher, which does not cover the purchase of sunglasses.

CDV had expressed concern that vision and eye health could be neglected due to the current health crisis and economic hardship. About 60 percent of the Italian population has eyesight problems. CDV estimates that the voucher could have the dual benefit of helping people address vision issues as well as boosting consumption.