Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Malaysia Today : Optometry Now

I have been asked many question about the eyecare industry and how it would shape up in Malaysia in the next 5-10 years.

Most common question by most aspiring eye care professionals would be :-

Should I study to become an Optometrist or an Optician??

If you are unsure what is an Optometrist compared to an Optician, read here

My answer would be take your Optometry course now and forget about the latter.

My reason is based mainly on a 3 factors :-

1) There is currently 6 (if i am still correct) Universities offering Optometry course in Malaysia. That means in the next 2-4 years, we would be churning out 200-300 optometrist per year. In the next 5-10 years numbers of Optometrist may well be at par with number of registered Opticians if not more.

2) As you know, the government are now discouraging the public to take up medicine that have been experiencing a glut in recent years. At the moment, the ratio of Houseman to Tutors are way off the charts resulting in the fear that the profession is suffering from a deterioration in quality. This will inevitably cause prospective student to look at other health related fields in Malaysia and Optometry is definitely up there. This may result in more universities offering Optometry courses and resulting in more Optometrist in the general market.

3) There is now a better awareness among the public between what is an Optometrist as compared with an Optician. This awareness will only increase as the years go by.

This 3 factors alone will propel Optometrist as the main eye care practitioner in the Optical Industry.

This in 7-10 years would result in the government to amend the Optical Act to make it compulsory for every optical outlet to have a registered Optometrist (like in Pharmacist to a Pharmacy). Many people are skeptic when i tell them this but i really beg to differ.

Furthermore, even before the act is amended, public awareness on the role of Optometrist as compared to an Optician is already on the rise. Not too long from now, i am sure most consumer may even insist that they have their eyes refracted by an Optometrist rather then an Optician.

This will also see the government tighten the already existing legislature on contact lens sales. At the moment all optical outlet are selling contact lens but the Optical Act states that only Optician with Pink Form and Registered Optometrist can dispense them to the general public. This may constitute to less then 50% (25% is my gut feeling if you include rural areas) of the optical outlets out there. An alarming figure indeed. As more Optometrist come out in the open market, pressure will be on the relevant department to enforce the already existing legislature.

For Opticians that have already been practicing in this industry, there will be challenging days ahead with the slowly but surely revolution of the industry. They will eventually have to work with Optometrist to ensure there is a more comprehensive approach in eye health care (if not also for their own livelihood). In UK, Optometrist are normally confined to their sight test room and sales are done by Opticians. This may be a good way forward.

One thing for sure, the change is coming and it is for the betterment of not just the industry which at the moment are degraded into somewhat a "pasar malam" culture but also to the consumer at large.


haan said...

hi chee hoe, it's been sooooooooo long since your last post here! glad to see new post again.

Chee Hoe said...

Hi Haan,

How are you doing? I see you still do A LOT of traveling. Hope you doing well.

Hopefully i got time to blog a bit more.

Vicquerra said...

hihi.. I am interested in it.. but i dunno which school should i go you have any comment or opinion on it? :)

Chee Hoe said...

Hi Vic,

From my knowledge, if you are planning to study in Malaysia, the few Uni that is available currently is UKM, THONEH, SEGI, UITM, UIA and MSU. On how good they are, I am not really sure as most of them are relatively new apart from UKM.

Anonymous said...

i oso hv interest to this....but i duno where to study.?is segi ok or wat......

Chee Hoe said...

Dear anon,

I am not sure to be honest. As far as I know, some of the teaching staff are from the now defunct Optometry course from Twintech. Only time will tell if its good or not since no graduates have come out from Segi yet.

najihatussolehah said...

hi chee hoe,i'm actually quite interested in optometry,but the problem is i'm not really good in physic since in my secondary school,it is this course is too much on physic...i'm actually a diploma pharmacy leaver with 3.58 about your opinion,do u recommend me to apply optometrist..

Vicquerra said...

I thought optometry will be more on biology?? btw, chee hoe, I would like to ask you more about the things u learn in this course? do we need to dissect or wat?? can you talk more about tis??thank you so much..

Chee Hoe said...

Hi Najiha,
I am not sure about the syllabus in Malaysia. Its best to check with the website of respective university (i.e UKM, UIA etc) to double confirm. However, I do not think optometry will involve too much physics although you will need to learn some optics module and ophthalmic dispensing modules. Most important when you apply for optometry course is to ask yourself what you want to do after you graduate. That would determine if its a good profession or not. I am saying this because from conversation with fellow peers from the industry, drop out rate among optometrist is quite high. I don't mean drop out rate in the sense of not passing your exams but drop out in terms of quitting the profession. This is because many people that was looking for clinical / hospital based work found themselves stuck in retail industry as they are unable to secure a job in hospital.

Hi Vic,
My BSc (Hons) Optometry did not involve any dissection. I guess most of that you would have done in form 6 or A-Levels (or equivalent). As for the course details, I think most university will be slightly different and it would depend on your Dean's vision for the course. Some may focus more on pathology, binocular vision or so forth. Its best to refer to the prospective university website and look at the syllabus that they have in offer.

Vicquerra said...

Thank you Chee Hoe.. For your infomations, I didn't take bio in form 6. So, I have never done dissection myself. Since I didn't take bio in form 6,I can't enter UKM. On the other hand, UIA only accept Malay matriculation student if i am not wrong.. So, I can only choose among private universities and colleges..

Anna said...

A really good post.

I think The Optical Act (1991) is now time to be update with the current status of eye care industry. Malaysian should be more aware of eye health rather than just think of changing of glasses when there could be a pathological problem behind it. Most easily detectable is index myopia for cataracts but opticians rather think of that as increases in power.

Im having a vision for Malaysia Eye Care in long term. Hoping to help in screening and detecting eye diseases in earlier stage rather than business-orientated field.

Chee Hoe said...


I hope the day that they allow optometrist as partial prescribers on the drugs list.

Miss WaNy said...

said : hi chee hoe . terima kasih di atas semua penjelasan kamu .. maaf bertanya .. seorang optometrist boleh tak melakukan surgery ?? (or is it optometrist is really a doctor??)

sangat keliru ..
thanx :)

Chee Hoe said...

Hi Wany,
Optometris bukan tidak boleh menjalankan pembedahan. Namun demikian, kelayakan kami membolehkan kita untuk melakukan diagnosis penyakit mata.

Anonymous said...

I thought only opthalmologist can perform surgery, no?

Chee Hoe said...

Optometrist can't perform surgery. Typo on my part, sorry for the confusion

Elaine T. said...

hi, i would lik to know abt the requirements for stpm graduates in order to get into this course? is it getting more students nowadays? have u heard of anyone in this course having a moderate result in stpm? i'm nt confident with my stpm but am interested in tthis course soooo much. thx

Chee Hoe said...

Hi Elaine,

Try checking out Upm's website for their latest requirement. That should lead you to the right way.

Don't worry about your stpm results. If you can get in on merit then nothing you can't do without hard worn and determination

selene said...

Hi...after the degree of this course..I can apply license is it??but I don't know what's the license call I just know Thts with the license I can start my on Thts true???

selene said...

Hi..after I get the degree for this course..I can apply license is it??but i don't know what's the license call..but with this license i can start my is it true??

Chee Hoe said...

Hi Seline,
Once you complete your degree, you only need to register with the MOC.

Anonymous said...

Iuctt@twintech xda dlm list ker.?as far as i know, iuctt is the only private uni that has accreditation in optom course. Others r still in process.

Chee Hoe said...

I am pretty sure the other colleges will get their accreditation as their first batch of optometrist grads come out. If not they won't be able to start off the course in the first place. Assuming the private U run their course in accordance to MOC guidelines that is.

Anonymous said...

hello, can you gimme a piece of advise? Im actually a student of axismatics now and this year would be my final year. Im interested in pursuing a degree from singapore polytechnic, which it is in collaboration with university of manchaster. The problem is, it's entry requirement is just for graduates of SP’s Diploma in Optometry, which takes abt 3 years for diploma, 2 years for degree. I had email them regrading whether or not I can get any exemption if im a fbdo holder, and the ans is no. Should I stop my fbdo for now, or just continue with it and register the program next year? And the degree that are getting would be Bachelor of Science in Optometry. Is it the same as Bachelor of Optometry?

Chee Hoe said...

If you plan to practice in Malaysia in the near future, you may want to double check the current legislature. From my recollection of the Optical Act, the Optometry course at Singapore Uni may not be recognised in the country. Do correct me if I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hi. why cant study optom after graduated from axismatics?
i thought can pursing degree after this.
did u mean singapore dont accept FBDO holder?
how about australia? acc FBDO holder?

Chee Hoe said...

I am not too sure about Australia. I would suggest you email the university and get the latest update

Anonymous said...

okay. so can study optom after graduated from axismatics right?

Anonymous said...

hi Chee Hoe, i happened to come across your blog and hopefully i can clear the doubts of future readers of this blog.

FBDO holders are most likely to be accepted in glascow U to further their optometry course (if they are interested). Some of my friends got accepted last year and they are currently doing 3years Bachelor of Optometry there.
Other than UK, FBDO holders have the least hope of entering MALAYSIA Uni and needless to say SINGAPORE OR AUSTRALIA.

@Chee Hoe. which uni are u in rite now =P?

Anonymous said...

so uh,where does an optometrist usually works?in hospitals or clinics? or at a spectacles shop? err?

Chee Hoe said...

Hi, I graduated from Bradford Uni way back in 2000. Didn't do anything here locally. Back then ABDO courses have yet to be established in Malaysia....I think.

Optometrist can work in both hospital and privately at an optical outlet

Anonymous said...

Sijil FBDO di Malaysia hanyalah bertaraf sijil mengikut kerangka MQA. Oleh sebab itu pemegang FBDO tidak boleh melanjutkan pelajaran ke peringkat Ijazah Sarjana Muda Optometri di Malaysia.

the girl who is lost said...

I'm a axismatics student, planning to get a foundation in science next year and then resume a bachelor. I'm not really interested in optometry and not keen in other sub as well. I just want to study allied health science and work in a clinical setting. From your previous post and comment, it seems like in future (5 years onwards), they would be more optom and it would be hardly to get a secure clinical job in malaysia. Can I have your advice in regards on what i should study to avoid the competition? I know all jobs are in competition nowadays but I want a higher chance of getting the clinical job.

petz said...

girl who is lost..optometry or optician is still the best field in allied science since others ie nursing, medical lab etc are already flooded with graduates.Malaysia still needs huge numbers of optom.yes it seems like in 5 years time there would be enough number of optom but do consider about private sector and higher education institution needs lecturer. the thing is you already wasted 2 years doing FBDO and then you want to do foundation.

Jun said...

hey im jun . you may not know me nor i do .Just wanna ask smtg. im an art student but im really interested in being an optometrist .I've been asking lots uni abt it all the feedbacks i got weren't helping at all . As i see you're well-experienced and i hope u can give me some advise to help me to persude my ambition ;)hope to get ur reply asap

nothing here said...

hi, i'm actually interested in optometry,but the problem is i'm not really good in physic since in my secondary school,it is this course is too much on physic?

Anonymous said...

how can I apply for Malaysian optometric license??
what is optometrist position in Malaysia?

Anonymous said...

how can I apply for Malaysian optometric license??
what is optometrist position in Malaysia?

sugar chen said...

Oval glasses improved lenses can also manage this step although it is recommended that this biceps with the glasses will be hinged in the center of the spectacles body.

Anonymous said...

I am actually not really interested in this area but since I unintendedly applied for optometry in UK, I just wanna ask you a question regarding this area. Why do Opticians need to obtain Pink Form as what u said? I'm not really understand

Regina Shealana said...

Hi guys, I am an optometrist by profession. Should you have any questions related to optometry, you may contact me at since i do not have much time surfing the net.
Tq :)

Angeline said...

Hi Chee Hoe! I just want to say thank you SO MUCH for taking your time to post these posts concerning Optometry. I am sure they have been very very helpful to students like me who are considering Optometry! :)

君子之风 said...

I think you have graduated alr... ;)

Anonymous said...

I am interested in studying optometry in segi university
Is it recognized by mqr or moc ?
Is it a smart choice to study at segi ?
I could open up my own shop after graduation right ?
Kindly reply me as soon as possible
Thank you

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