When the Late YAB Tun Hussein Onn was the Chairman of Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) (1975 - 1990), he realized the necessity to have a dedicated Eye Hospital which will provide state-of-the-art Eye care to the Malaysians to prevent unnecessary blinding disorders. As funds were limited in MAB, he worked relentlessly in procuring funds through public donations. Through his leadership and untiring work MAB managed to raise the funds and the building started to take shape.
A 5-storey building was put up in Lorong Utara B in the land belonging to MAB. Many equipments were donated by well-wishers such as JICA. On 22nd March, 1986, a soft launch of the hospital services was officiated by the late YAB Tun Hussein Onn. It was a unique ceremony where all religious Heads blessed the Hospital and the eye hospital in the country was ready to receive its first patient. In recognition of Tun’s leadership in this project and his many years of dedicated service to MAB and its prevention of blindness programmes, the Hospital was named after him as the “Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital”. On March 21, 1987, His Royal Highness, Sultan of Selangor officially opened the Hospital.
In 1988, the Hospital services were further enhanced and to concentrate on Training and Research and Sub-specialty clinics. In May1996, the National Eye Bank was set up to fulfill the dire need of corneal transplant services and procurement of eye donors. The Eye Bank obtained its affiliation with International Federation of Eye Banks (IFEB).
In March 1996, the Hospital attained National status in recognition for its efforts in Eye Care in the country and thereafter re-named the “The Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital”.
To keep the late YAB Tun Hussein Onn’s desire and dreams, the Hospital not only provide affordable services to the public but is also actively involved in conducting eye screening programmes for the community and organize public forums on common eye conditions to increase public awareness. The Mobile Eye Clinic and the Mobile Eye Operating Theatre travel throughout Semenanjung Malaysia for assessment and cataract surgeries in the rural areas. In July 2001, a Family Clinic was set up at the M.A.B. complex to provide free medical care for the blind and their families. THONEH has a Patient’s Welfare Fund whereby subsidised welfare aid is provided to the poor and needy patients.
The National Institute of Ophthalmic Sciences (NIOS), the Educational arm of the THONEH
The Hospital’s activities have been proceeding along the lines of the late YAB Tun Hussein Onn that the Malaysian public receive the eye care facility in and around the region maintaining quality services and yet doing charity. Quality services can only be provided with good training of Staff and Doctors and to fulfill this, The National Institute of Ophthalmic Sciences (NIOS) was established. One of the fundamental objectives of the Hospital is Education, Training, Research and Development. The National Institute of Ophthalmology (NIO), now known as National Institute of Ophthalmic Sciences (NIOS) which was set up in 1997 is the education arm of THONEH and consists of School of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel, School of Optometry and School of Post Graduate Studies and Research.