Eye­ing your way to good health

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION -

VIS­UAL ac­cess to the reti­nal blood ves­sels re­veals the state of the other blood ves­sels in the hu­man body.

The blood ves­sels can be viewed through sim­ple and pain­less in­stru­ments that re­sult in the fun­dus pho­to­graph with­out surgery to iden­tify sys­temic dis­eases not re­stricted to the eye.

The mis­con­cep­tion that op­tometrists merely con­duct vi­sion checks that may re­sult in pre­scrib­ing spec­ta­cle lenses is what UCSI Univer­sity’s School of Op­tom­e­try, un­der the Fac­ulty of Medicine, is de­ter­mined to ad­dress with its new Bach­e­lor of Op­tom­e­try (Hons).

At the helm of this mis­sion is the School of Op­tom­e­try head, As­soc Prof Dr Michael Emina. Hav­ing been in the field of op­tom­e­try since 1983, Dr Emina has served as both an op­tometrist and the Head of the Depart­ment of Op­tom­e­try in sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties. He played a key role in es­tab­lish­ing the Doc­tor of Op­tom­e­try de­gree in Ghana’s sec­ond pub­lic univer­sity – Kwame Nkrumah Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy – in ad­di­tion to the bach­e­lor pro­gramme in UCSI.

His ex­pe­ri­ences and ster­ling aca­demic cre­den­tials give him the for­mi­da­ble ad­van­tage of be­ing in touch with the lat­est in­dus­try up­dates as well as in­ter­na­tional stan­dards in re­search and op­tom­e­try.

Stu­dents of this four-year pro­gramme will be trained in ev­ery as­pect of pre­ven­tive, vis­ual ther­apy and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for the im­prove­ment of the eye and vi­sion.

Ad­di­tion­ally, stu­dents will be trained in eye and vi­sion ex­am­i­na­tion as well as dis­pens­ing spec­ta­cles and con­tact lenses.

The train­ing of pa­tients who can­not read or per­form well in sports be­cause of poor co­or­di­na­tion of the hands, eyes and the vis­ual sys­tem is also an es­sen­tial as­pect.

Clar­i­fy­ing that op­tometrists are not oph­thal­mol­o­gists and they do not dis­pense drugs or per­form surgery, Dr Emina em­pha­sises that the field of eye care is multi-dis­ci­plinary.

To give stu­dents as much ex­pe­ri­ence in pa­tient man­age­ment as pos­si­ble, the pro­gramme in­cor­po­rates 1,236 hours of con­tact with real pa­tients and has mapped out other hands-on train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in hos­pi­tals that train UCSI med­i­cal stu­dents.

The School of Op­tom­e­try has built an op­tom­e­try re­tail cen­tre and a clinic within the school and also in­vested heav­ily in some of the lat­est cut­ting-edge op­tom­e­try equip­ment for its stu­dents.

This is in line with UCSI’s praxis ap­proach, which ad­vo­cates the ap­pli­ca­tion of the­ory to prac­tice. The univer­sity also has a bou­tique ho­tel, fine din­ing restau­rant and in­te­rior de­sign con­sult­ing ser­vice on cam­pus.

Dr Emina ex­plains that like any al­lied health pro­fes­sional course, op­tom­e­try stu­dents will spend their early years learn­ing about ba­sic hu­man sciences.

Only then will they be able to pro­ceed to learn to use the equip­ment and ex­am­i­na­tion pro­ce­dures.

Sub­se­quently, they will be al­lowed to watch and even­tu­ally par­tic­i­pate in treat­ment un­der the watch­ful eye of their lec­tur­ers and Dr Emina him­self.

The school is also set to con­trib­ute in reach­ing out to com­mu­ni­ties in Malaysia through the field of op­tom­e­try.

It will be­gin by fo­cus­ing on its staff and stu­dents, as char­ity be­gins at home.

It will em­bark on a mas­sive project to ex­am­ine and doc­u­ment the eye health of each of its staff and stu­dents to form a data­base. Those whose eye­sight are de­te­ri­o­rat­ing or have prob­lems will be able to make an ap­point­ment to work out a treat­ment plan.

To find out more about UCSI Univer­sity’s Bach­e­lor of Op­tom­e­try (Hons) pro­gramme, con­tact 03-9101 8882 or e-mail www.uc­si­u­ni­ver­sity.edu. my/on­li­neen­quiry. For en­quiries on your eye health, drop by the op­tom­e­try clinic at the UCSI Univer­sity KL Cam­pus (South Wing).

Dr Emina ex­am­in­ing a pa­tient’s eye, which is also shown on the mon­i­tor be­side him.

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