Ex-soldier looks forward to regaining his sight after free surgery

  • Nation
  • Monday, 17 May 2004


GRIK: Former Warrant Officer (II) Mat Saman Mat Yakim from Kampung Sumpitan, Lenggong is looking forward to regaining his sight after successfully undergoing a cataract or intraocular implant operation at the Grik Hospital here on Saturday. 

The operation was part of an outreach programme mooted by the Health Ministry. 

It lasted about 30 minutes per patient. 

Mat Saman, 66, said he went through a similar operation on his right eye two years ago at a private eye specialist centre in Kuala Lumpur. 

“At that time, my children had to pay over RM3,000 for my medical bills but this time it’s free,” he told reporters while recovering at the ward on Saturday. 

IN HIGH SPIRITS: Lee chatting with Mat Saman after his cataract operation at the Grik Hospital on Saturday. Mat Saman’s leftvision is still blurry but he is confident it will be all right soon.

When contacted some 20 hours after the operation, Mat Saman said he was at home and the bandage over his left eye had been removed. 

“My left vision is still blurry but I am confident that it will be okay,” said the former marksman of Temenggor-based Battallion 303 who had a string of rifle-shooting contest victories prior to his retirement in 1983. 

Mat Saman said he began having blurred vision in 2001.  

Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Lee Kah Choon visited each of the 18 patients who underwent similar operations at the hospital. 

The operations were carried out by a team of eye specialists based at the Ipoh Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department, led by its head Datuk Dr Ballaravi Pillai. 

Speaking to reporters later, Lee said the outreach programme carried out jointly with the Medical Council of the Blind, was also being carried out in other parts of the country. 

“Under this programme, patients only stay overnight at the respective government hospitals where the operation is carried out and they will be discharged the following day,” he said. 

Besides being free, Lee said patients also need not travel outstation to seek treatment.  

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