Vision is the most important function for all human beings. We use our eyes to see what is happening around us and we can so do many things just by seeing. But imagine if our vision is impaired due to our lack of awareness in taking care of our eyes, there will be so many things that cannot be done.
Therefore, bringing “Eyecare for All” as the theme, the Association of Malaysian Optometrist (AMO) with the School of Optometry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UCSI University and Schools of Optometry from six different universities organised the National Eye Health Awareness Campaign (NEHA) 2019 held at UCSI University, KL campus, on August 6, 2019.
The Ministry of Health in 2018 reported that 80% of eye diseases are preventable and treatable. Thus, AMO through NEHA aims to promote and educate the importance of having a good vision by providing eye health examinations especially to the underprivileged B40 families.
The four-month campaign expected a total of 1,000 patients to benefit from the eye screening programmes provided. The campaign is seen as a platform to bridge the gap between universities and the B40 communities apart from developing a better understanding of the importance in bringing the university closer to the community.
President of AMO, Mr Woon Pak Seong indicated that this yearly event is more special as it is held at UCSI University, with some of the students having done their internship at AMO.
“AMO represents all optometrists whether in the professional industry, lecturers and even students in Malaysia. Through NEHA, we want to promote and raise eye health awareness in Malaysia.” he said.
“Eye health examinations must not only be available but also accessible for all. Although Malaysians are becoming increasingly health-conscious, many still fail to take eye health into account,” he added.
“We need to digest the fact that poor vision affects people in many ways whether academically or socially. And I hope through NEHA, we can show that we truly care in bringing good eye health to the needy,” he remarked.
In the meantime, Vice-Chancellor and President of UCSI University, Senior Professor Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff in his speech stated that apart from having good vision, it is important to have “another type of vision”.
“We have innovative, creative and critical thinking, but we are missing out on constructive thinking. We need to be able to make a difference for a better community and a better nation,” he said.
“Don’t worry about being small; worry about being big with no meaning. NEHA is a venue and platform for you to be constructive and do something positive in life. We need to put our hearts to it and make changes because we are contributing to the good of the community,” he added.
Senior Professor Khalid also shared his past experiences in the medical industry where he stressed that there should not be any limit to excellence.
“As a normal human being, we should make a full use of what is given to us to contribute back to the society.”
“I would like to remind you not to go out of the room as the same person when you came in. That will make a difference.” he pointed out before finishing his speech.
The campaign then continued with presentation of tokens of appreciation to all universities and sponsors before the ribbon-cutting ceremony by Senior Professor Dato’ Dr. Khalid with other VIP guests pronouncing the official launch of NEHA 2019 before they were brought to the Eye Screening Programme at Optometry Centre for a tour.
Meanwhile, School of Optometry’s second year student, Lim Co Shin said NEHA is a benefitting event for herself apart from the B40 communities that have gathered for the eye health examinations.
“I feel so great when I can help not only elderly people, but also teenagers and children to check their eyes so that they can prevent damage or diseases,” she said.
“Although I have only learnt some of the aspects in optometry, I am relieved that I can still be a contributor to the community.” she added.
Lim also indicated that in the future, she hopes that NEHA’s efforts will be continue so that she can be among those who can contribute what she has learnt in helping the needy people to do eye health examinations.
For this year’s campaign, a total number of seven universities in Klang valley area including UCSI University, were involved as a collaborator in conducting the complementary eye screening tests for orphans and senior citizens from the B40 community.
Since the inauguration of NEHA in 2016, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care has been collaborating with AMO in educating people about better eye health and ways to have a better vision with healthier contact lens options. Essilor Malaysia Sdn Bhd aims to raise awareness on myopia, the possible causes on children’s eye health affecting their education and well-being.
The launching ceremony was attended by Ophthamology Department of Hospital Selayang optometrist, Datin Rosmawati Uthman and Ministry of Health Amblyopia & Visual Impairment Screening (AVIS) president, Noor Zahirah who were also the collaborators for the campaign. The ceremony included the Heads of Department and lecturers of School of Optometry from the respective universities involved.