The Health October 2020 - Page 10

Students are well resourced with theory components and practical training

10

The Health | October , 2020

| Cover Story |

Journey to a certified optometrist

Students are well resourced with theory components and practical training

From page09 working at ophthalmology clinics in government hospitals , lecturers in universities , optical industry and private practice .”
AMO upholds the standard of eye care
AMO collaborates with the MoH , other healthcare professionals , academicians , and industrial players to strengthen
From page09 comes to contact lenses dispensing and consulting .”
As for this year , J & J Vision Care endorsed a partnership with the Association of Malaysian Optometrists ( AMO ) and the Malaysian Optical Council ( MOC ) for World Optometry Day which coincidentally fell on the month of March , the month where the Covid-19 lockdown happened .
Linsay said : “ Despite that , we have actually come out with a Post Covid-19 Practice Guideline ( PCPG ) in collaboration with AMO and the MOC .
PCPG was created to make sure that eye care professionals are well-equipped during these trying times . The guideline serves to provide eye care practitioners the suggested post Covid-19 guidance on contact lens practice and in-store infection control measures .
“ Here , we even make sure that the ECPs have a checklist on what they should do for an in-store eye examination , for eye exam rooms and for the contact lens corner . So , we don ’ t specifically say it ’ s for contact lenses , but this will be the healthier overall practice .
The main reason why we have co-developed a practice guideline focusing on contact lenses is because “ The most commonly prescribed visual aids in the market will be either spectacles or contact lenses .”
As a matter of fact , it is vital for the public to understand that contact lenses are completely different to spectacles - contact lens prescriptions are different and require extra care in handling and maintenance . public awareness on the importance of regular comprehensive eye examination that includes eye health screening .
In addition , AMO in collaboration with other Asia countries will organise an e-aoC 2020 ( e-Asia Optometric Congress ) on Nov 18-19th 2020 to uphold the standard of eye care in Malaysia , as well as in Asian regions . — The Health
“ We have always shared the same philosophy as the AMO to make sure that we always uphold their standards of eye care ,” Linsay said .
It started in 2016 when J & J Vision Care started a partnership with AMO for the National Eye Health Awareness ( NEHA ) campaign .
The campaign is targeted to secure an increase in awareness among the mass public on eye care and knowing to whom they should refer to for consultation or have an eye examination .
“ We have continuously partnered with AMO from 2016 up until now in organizing the NEHA campaign ,” she shared .
In the following year ( 2017 ), J & J Vision Care came out with a contact lens practice guidelines which was endorsed by the MOC as well as to make sure there was a standard adherence to guidelines when it comes to contact lenses .
Taking a closer view on the awareness of vision care in Malaysia , she clarified that the awareness on vision care is a work in progress .
“ That is why we make sure we have collaborations with AMO and MOC . So we are very actively involved in continuous professional development , which helps our eye care professionals to always keep themselves updated on the current news and skills that they need to serve the public better .
Usually , J & J Vision Care will have programmes such as conferences and face-to-face training for eye care professionals . However , due to the existence of Covid-19 , this shifted to a webinar approach . — The Health
BY CAMILIA REZALI

The eye is the window to one ’ s health . It can reflect on

several underlying systemic health conditions such as diabetes , high blood pressure , high cholesterol and even cancer . Optometrists are trained to screen for systemic health problems when conducting eye examinations .
The educational sector has a well-structured course incorporating standard criteria from the Malaysian Optical Council ( MOC ) to produce professionally trained optometrists .
The Director of University Community Transformation Centre of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( UKM ) Prof Datuk Dr Rokiah Omar said , the university has the responsibility to train new optometrists at the undergraduate level .
The Bachelor in Optometry in UKM takes four years to complete . The students are well resourced with theory components and practical training , considering that optometry is a combination of both science and art ( practice ).
Dr Rokiah , who is also a Low Vision Specialist said : “ We ( the university ) are also in the midst of creating opportunities for them to further their skills in terms of clinical skills . This is by having a Clinical Masters programme ( one or one and a half years by coursework and two years by research ) and also a PhD programme ( by research ).
“ Due to the limitation of facilities , only 30 seats are available for one semester ’ s intake , yet we receive up to 300 applications .”
Beyond Preventing Blindness
By practice , the main role of optometrists is to cater to the prevention of blindness , providing functional treatment for nonpathological cases and improving quality of life .
A professionally trained optometrist is well-equipped with a variety of skills , including improving the quality of life . Dr Rokiah said : “ There is also a specialty area for optometrists where we actually carry out functional treatment such as binocular vision function .”
Having tasks specializing on functional vision allows optometrists to identify diseases . They work hand-in-hand with ophthalmologists to provide the best management option for patients .
Looking out for the patients ’ quality of life , on the other hand , means dealing with an eye condition which is linked