WHEN he developed cataracts in 2006, Cheah Weng Kok, 54, lost sight in his right eye within two years.
“I tried to cross the road and I couldn’t see the car coming so I was hit and was admitted to hospital for more than a week,” said Cheah, who is a resident of the Charis Senior Citizens Club in Pudu.
Thanks to the Lions Eye Clinic, Cheah was able to undergo surgery and have his sight restored.
Lions Clubs International District 308B1 Malaysia district governor Dr J.P. Kamalanathan said the idea to start the eye clinic came about around July last year.
“We planned to raise RM1mil but with the generosity of the Lions and friends of the Lions, we raised RM1.3mil within six months,” he said.
The clinic officially opened in February at a premises courtesy of Mahsa College.
Dr Kamalanathan said the aim of the clinic was to treat all types of eye ailments and perform cataract surgery and other minor surgeries.
“The services are for patients all over Malaysia and we’re giving it free to poor patients, especially those from old folks homes,” he said.
The clinic is open Mondays to Fridays, from 9am to 5pm, and has a resident doctor, a visiting consultant ophthalmologist and full-time nurses.
“The cost of setting up the clinic was about RM600,000 and the balance would be used to help poor patients.
“The clinic is non-profit but we are also expecting paying customers to come in so that the money can be used for the needy patients.
“We are charging RM2,000 for the Phaco cataract surgery, which is cheaper than the market rate,” he said.
With his eyesight restored, Cheah, a former chef, hoped to start his own stall selling Western food.
His friend, Choo Yuk Wah, 72, who also went through the operation, could finally see with his right eye — after 12 years of waiting.
“I went to the government hospitals but was put on a waiting list. After so many years, my cataracts worsened,” he said.
Choo said that he could now read the newspapers, something he had to forgo due to his eye condition.
Lions Eye Clinic chairman Wong Chang Wai said that many people thought that it was natural to lose their eyesight as they got older.
“They don’t realise that some of the problems can be treated, like cataracts,” said Wong.
The clinic is located at Mahsa College, Jalan Elmu, off Jalan Universiti, Kuala Lumpur. For enquiries, call 03-7957 5268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.