Wearing contact lenses way past their intended duration can be extremely hazardous
HOW informed are we about our own eye health? If you are already a habitual wearer of glasses or contact lenses, you are probably on autopilot by now. But have you visited an optometrist to check the condition of your eye? We speak with optometrist Chan May Ling, owner of the Chan Visual Care Optometrist practice located at Bukit Jambul shopping complex in Penang.
Wearing and caring for contact lenses
“Long-term contact lens users usually don’t get their eyes checked. Their eye care routine just involves purchasing off-the-shelf lenses,” said Chan.
“For them, as long there are no obvious problems with their eyes, they don’t make it a point to visit the optometrist. As a result, once an issue pops up, it’s typically an emergency case.”
She makes it a point to find out when each of her customers last got their eyes checked professionally. The main issue she faces is that people don’t often comply with the instructions given and they only rush to the doctor when the issue gets severe.
Some of these cases involve people ‘cleaning’ their contact lenses with tap water instead of contact lens cleaning solution, without realising that germs and microorganisms live in tap water.
“Most customers will not take the initiative to undergo a yearly eye checkup. Unfortunately, after several years without a proper eye check, various eye conditions may have already started to develop.
“To all the contact lens wearers out there, when you drop by any optometrist to purchase your lenses please get your eye health checked too.
“My duty as an optometrist is not just to help them see and feel better but to ensure their ocular health remains in good condition,” pleads Chan.
Be mindful of the duration
Chan has been seeing an increasing trend whereby customers would request their family member to drop by and buy the lenses for them. She wishes they would instead come in and let her examine their eyes before making such purchases.
“Customers who try to stretch the wear of their contact lenses to save costs are more likely to be the ones experiencing problems that are completely avoidable.
“They will come back and tell me the lenses are no longer comfortable and that their eyes are getting dry. Firstly, I will check the condition of the eye and tell them that their lenses have expired or have been overused. I will advise them to stop wearing contact lenses to let their eyes recover and opt for glasses for a couple of days instead.”
Chan has been partnering up with Johnson & Johnson Vision for over a decade.
“Their reproducibility is very good and if you visit their Johnson & Johnson Institute in Thailand and Beijing, they place utmost importance for their patient’s vision. They have also got commitments when it comes to eye care. Johnson & Johnson contact lenses are produced in US and Ireland with strict standards.”
Caring for her customers
In her nearly two decades of practice, Chan has seen her fair share of customers and eye conditions.
“What makes it rewarding is when my customers are thankful for my assistance in restoring and preserving vision.”
She hopes that everyone will take note of her advice.
“Please comply with the instructions and advice provided by the optometrists and if possible, use daily lenses. Be sure to consult a qualified, registered optometrist, and please get an eye checkup before purchasing your contact lenses.” — The Health