Your eyes, our priority: UKM’s mobile optometry clinic expands network

The Mobile Optometry Clinic (KOB), an initiative by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Health Sciences, has expanded its horizons by collaborating with international bodies.

While KOB initially worked with Special Olympics Malaysia, this time, it has extended its collaboration to include Special Olympics International.

The recent Healthy Athlete Blended Training of the Trainers Programme, held from Nov 25-26 at Manipal University Melaka, showcased a diverse group of experts, not just from Malaysia, but also from other countries such as Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Fiji, Laos, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

Unlike previous initiatives, this programme not only conducted health checks for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the Special Olympics, it also provided training for new clinical directors across six disciplines.

With the involvement of six Regional Clinical Advisors (RCAs) and four clinical directors, the programme successfully trained 37 new clinical directors from Malaysia. A crucial aspect of this success was the dedication of 195 volunteers from various agencies, including UKM, Manipal University, and Tunku Abdul Rahman University.

I led the KOB service this time around. Assisting me were 16 volunteers – students from UKM’s Faculty of Health Sciences’ Optometry and Vision Science Programme, along with five optometric officers from Hospital Melaka’s ophthalmology department, some of whom were alumni of the varsity’s Health Sciences Faculty.

This programme not only provided an opportunity for students in the Optometry and Vision Science Programme to engage with, and understand the special population of children with intellectual disabilities, it also allowed them to apply their clinical knowledge in this unique context.

Such an exposure contributes to the development of graduates aligned with national aspirations, creating competent, competitive professionals who are equipped to meet the needs of both the country, and the global community.

Students were also exposed to international programmes, broadening their perspectives.

One hundred and eighteen athletes underwent comprehensive eye examinations, and 33 individuals received free glasses. Some athletes were referred to hospitals for specialised treatment for their vision problems.

This successful endeavour aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring healthy lives, and promoting wellbeing for all ages.

The KOB team received invaluable support from the Health Sciences Faculty industry partners, namely Mandarin Opto, and Essilor Luxottica Foundation. Their donations included clinical equipment for eye examinations and lenses for free glasses for children with intellectual disabilities.

Dr Harimi Abd Rahman is a senior lecturer and low vision expert at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.