Ignoring advice of eye experts at their own peril

PHOTO: Ignoring advice of eye experts at their own peril

KUALA LUMPUR - Although the use of both vision corrective and cosmetic contact lenses have become increasingly trendy of late, awareness that its improper use could pose a health risk remains low.

Eye experts have said that acquiring contact lenses from reputable optometrists would eliminate much of the risks associated with using contact lenses, but many among members of the public still disregarded their advice.

Many unsuspecting customers here suffered the consequences as a result of using contact lenses acquired from night markets and online vendors.

Razlin Mohammad, 22, from Bandar Sunway said she had purchased a pair from a flea market for RM20 (S$8.25).

"Within the first two hours of using the lenses, my eyes began to itch and reddened.

"I went back to the shop and the vendor told me that I should wear them more as my eyes were only beginning to adjust."

Razlin blindly heeded the vendor's advice and eventually ended up with a lens stuck in one of her eyes.

"I had to go to an optometrist to have it removed, but the damage was done. My eyes were badly hurt and I had to use an eye patch for a month.

"The optometrist said that if the lens had stayed in my eye any longer it would have developed into a corneal ulcer."

When asked if she would wear contact lenses again, she said "never".

Lee Hui Ling, 26, said she had bought a pair of coloured contact lenses in a night market, believing that wearing them would make her prettier.

"The lenses dried out within minutes and my eyes burned when I tried to moisten them with eye drops."

Despite the discomfort, Lee continued to use them as she trusted the vendor who told her the effects were only "temporary".

She eventually developed an eye infection and was advised not use any form of eye make-up for a month.

Fortunately the infection was detected early and was cured by administering medical eye drops.

Melinda Too, 23, from Johor said she ordered 10 pairs of vision correcting lenses online after seeing an advertisement on a social networking site.

"I felt it was a bargain because it was only RM15 a pair, and I was told each pair could last a year."

Too, who is myopic, said the vision corrective contact lenses she bought were "wrong", despite the claims made on the product's packaging.