Optometrists care for their patients’ vision in the same way that medical practitioners care for their patient’s general health. An optometrist uses a variety of techniques and instruments to understand the patient’s vision needs.
Related training is available in the form of a three-year B.Sc in ophthalmic technology, two/ three-year diploma courses in optometry, or a two-year diploma course in ophthalmic assistance.
Once in practice, optometrists need to have an interest in continued learning and professional development. This should include clinical knowledge to help in patient care and practice management to further develop business acumen.
All optometrist in Malaysia must be registered with the Malaysian Optical Council. It is illegal for an unregistered person (other than a medical practitioner) to practise optometry in Malaysia.
A strong academic background is needed, as optometry courses are challenging and generally have limited places.
The study syllabus for optometry is a mixture of science and medicine. The degree programme is of four years duration (including one year of internship) resulting in the award of a B.Optom degree.
Optometry students study:
- Human anatomy
- General and ocular pharmacology
- General pathology
- Sensory and perceptual psychology
- Human physiology
A good optometrist will enjoy working with people of all ages and have a genuine desire to help their patients.
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Myers-Briggs: INFJ, ESTP
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Holland Vocational Code: REI
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An important part of an optometrist’s work is the detection and diagnosis of eye disease. When an optometrist detects a visual complaint which requires medical or surgical treatment the patient may be referred to a general medical practitioner or an ophthalmologist.
As an optometrist, you don’t necessarily have to work in shops and sell glasses!
Most Malaysian optometrists are either self-employed or work for other optometrists in private practice.
Depending on your specialization, some will find yourselves working in hospitals, clinics, schools, elderly homes and so forth.
According to Payscale Malaysia, the salary range for optometrist is from RM31,913 to RM35,943 annually.
Malaysia currently faces a shortage of nearly 3,000 optometrists if it were to meet the ratio of one optometrist for every 7,000 people. As for October 2010, nearly 900 registered as optometrists, against 3,600 needed to meet the ratio requirement.
According to a study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost 39 percent of Malaysians have vision problems, with more than 60 percent of those with problems below age 39. Furthermore, about 53 percent of those with vision problems live far from cities. Malaysia has emphasised eye care and this among the reasons the optometry profession is increasingly gaining attention in both government and private healthcare facilities.
In spite of the significant advances in blindness prevention over the past century, the magnitude of this problem is expanding. Today, there are an estimated 180 million individuals globally who are visually impaired.
In response to this “globalization” of the health professions, the World Council of Optometry (WCO) has developed a Global Competency-Based Model of Scope of Practice in Optometry to assist states and countries around the world to reconcile the variations in the scope of optometry practice internationally.
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Institutions offering this course
Intake : June and November