The Health October 2020 - Page 11

The Ministry of Health aspires to strengthen the competency of optometrists and enhance their career pathway

| Cover Story |

october , 2020 | The Health

11

Strengthening the role of optometrists

The Ministry of Health aspires to strengthen the competency of optometrists and enhance their career pathway

BY CAMILIA REZALI

The Ministry of Health ( MoH )

has throughout the decades , expanded , and extended its efforts towards better vision care for Malaysians . Vision care has been largely integrated into the system drawn up by the MoH , which holds the task of monitoring a wide-ranging network of optometry care in the public health sector in the country .
Once eye damage occurs on the retina , it cannot be regenerated and becomes permanent . Because of that , optometrists provide vision rehabilitation so that patients can go back to doing what they used to do , but probably with a different adaptation .”
to other diseases such as diabetes – a condition that may lead to diabetic retinopathy , low vision and scotoma . “ Once eye damage occurs on the retina , it cannot be regenerated and becomes permanent . Because of that , optometrists provide vision rehabilitation so that patients can go back to doing what they used to do , but probably with a different adaptation ,” said Dr Rokiah , adding that the role of optometrists in such instances will enhance residual vision disabilities .
Residual vision care is a process which allows optometrists to identify patients ’ limitations and establish realistic goals for their treatment plans . In a way , the vision rehabilitation care can be an important tool to grow and strengthen the practice of an optometrist . — The Health
“ Optometrists in the Ministry stress on the quality of treatment served to the patients ,” said Datin Rosmawati .
“ Optometrists in the Ministry focus on the quality of treatment served to the patients ,” said the Deputy Head of Optometry Profession , Allied Health Sciences Division of MoH , Datin Rosmawati Uthman .
She said : “ At hospitals , optometrists provide refraction services for all patient categories . We also provide sub-specialty services such as therapeutic contact lenses , binocular vision and orthoptist , low vision and visual rehabilitation , paediatric optometry and special diagnostic tests . Optometrists also contribute to the excellent surgical outcomes for cataract services nationwide as result of quality biometry and refraction procedure ”.
She added that optometrists also work at hospitals without ophthalmologists and at health clinics to deliver primary eye care for the community . This is the way forward for MoH optometry which has been advocated since 2011 .
“ Optometrists in the MoH are also involved in Prevention of Blindness programmes including community outreach and services such as eye screening , retinal disease awareness , cataract finder , contact lens awareness programme , Amblyopia Visual Impairment Screening ( AVIS ) and are also important team players in Klinik Katarak KKM ( KK-KKM ). These activities are being coordinated by our public health optometrists .”
Rosmawati explained : “ Amblyopia Visual Impairment Screening ( AVIS ) is a strategic collaboration program with the Association of Malaysian Optometrists ( AMO ). Currently there are 127 private optometrists participate in spectacles provision and 30 optometrists have been recognized as AVIS Optometrists . In the near future , we hope more private optometrists will participate in this program ”
KK-KKM on the other hand , is a strategic programme designed by the ophthalmology services to eliminate cataract blindness and improve the accessibility to cataract services . This serves as an outreach programme involving mobile eye services to rural and remote areas throughout the country .
This sets the significant role of optometrists under KK-KKM as a cataract finder , providing eye examination including fundus examination , measuring intraocular lens ( IOL ) power , arranging IOLs for patients , as well as performing refraction for pre and post cataract operation patients .
The other benchmark for optometrist ’ s role is the inclusion in the recent project which optometrists are diligently giving effort in this Cluster Hospital Ophthalmology-Optometry .
One of the examples is Kuala Pilah Hospital as the lead hospital and Hospital Jempol and Hospital Tampin as the nonlead hospitals , serving as a single entity to provide ophthalmology-optometry services to the local population . As a result , there is increment of accessibility to care for cataract , including refractive error . “ Optometrists in the MoH aim at delivering the best service for patients . Therefore , they are required to undergo training and continuous educational programmes such as courses , seminars and conferences to further strengthen their career pathway and enhance clinical optometry services simultaneously .
Thus , the MoH aspires to strengthen the competency of optometrists and enhance their career pathway by facilitating more optometrists in pursuing a Masters or PhD or even opting for clinical attachment .” she said .
Aside from that , the quality of optometrist ’ s service in the Ministry are measured through Key Performance Index ( KPIs ) and meeting the standard requirement of ISO and Malaysia Society Quality in Health ( MSQH ).
“ In Research and Development ( R & D ), optometrists are actively involved in research conferences at state , national and international levels ,” said Rosmawati . — The Health