Dr Kong recognised for blind prevention works
Posted on June 20, 2012, Wednesday
KUCHING: Sarawak Society for the Blind (SSB) recently held an appreciation dinner for Dr Dennis Kong for winning the ‘Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award’.
Dr Kong is a resident ophthalmologist at Normah Medical Specialist Hospital. He is also the past chairman of SSB’s Committee of Wellness and Prevention of Blindness.
The prestigious award was given by Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, South Korea to Dr Kong during their annual meeting.
The award, although given to an individual, is in recognition of the activities carried out by Sarawak Society of the Blind and the eye departments of Sarawak General Hospital and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) in the prevention of blindness.
“National Council for the Blind Malaysia and various NGOs have also contributed significantly. Lions members, Rotarians, Freemasons etc have helped to purchase medical equipment, intraocular lens implants, medicine and also financially supported many of the projects,” Dr Kong said in his press statement yesterday.
Some of the blindness prevention projects included cataract campaign in Sarawak’s rural areas.
According to him, the National Eye Survey done in 1996 identified cataract as the leading cause of avoidable blindness and low vision.
Cataract surgeries have been conducted in rural district hospitals throughout Sarawak since 1990, with three to four campaigns annually.
Todate SSB has organised 67 cataract campaigns and performed 1767 cataract surgeries.
SSB past secretary John Wong has a remarkable record of leading every single one of the 67 campaigns where rural and underprivileged people are given preferences for surgery.
Diabetic eye screening programme was also started to create awareness on the potential cause of blindness due to diabetes. General practitioners are encouraged to refer their patients for eye screening once a year. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetic eye disease can prevent loss of vision.
Eye screening programmes for kindergarten students train teachers to screen their own students for eye diseases like refractive error, lazy eyes and squints.
Lazy eyes are easier to treat and reverse when picked up at an earlier age.
“The objective of periodically organising ‘Eye Update Courses for General Practitioners and Paramedics’ is to improve knowledge about eye diseases among the healthcare workers.
“SSB has also organised regular eye screening programmes and public forums. The aim is to screen for early eye diseases and also create awareness about eye diseases among the public. World Sight Day celebration is done annually to promote wellness and prevention of blindness activities,” said Dr Kong.
Brochures on common eye diseases are also produced in different languages and given out to the public at the same time.
Another on-going project is the intraocular lens subsidy scheme in which deserving and poor patients pay a nominal sum or are given implantable lenses free of charge for cataract surgery.
“It is hoped this award will spur SSB and in particular the Committee on Wellness and Prevention of Blindness to work harder and embark on bigger projects in the future,” he added.