Contact lens has become very popular trend nowadays and used as alternatives to replace the use of glasses to correct refractive error, however along with new technology, contact lenses have changed its functions. The existence of colored contact lenses (cosmetics) are very popular, made it widely acceptable by young teenager and school children to enhance physical appearance.
Many of the lenses easily purchased online, in beauty salons, night market and in novelty stores which are not FDA-approved and being sold illegally. The extremely high demand and cheaper price of these contact lens compared to the optical shop has led to the uncontrollable sales by the uncertified practitioners. According to the Ministry of Health, contact lens requires a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional registered with the Malaysian Optical Council.
Figure 1 : Contact Lenses For Refractive Error
Figure 2 : Colored (cosmetics) Contact Lenses
Figure 3: Colored (cosmetics) Contact Lenses On Eyes
2.0 Who Is The Certified Practitioner?
In Malaysia, prescription and purchasing of contact lenses is regulated under the Optic Act 1991 which applied to:
i) Registered Optometrists
All Registered Optometrists can prescribe, dispense and sell contact lens (does not require Contact Lens License to Practice)
ii) Registered Optician with Contact Lens License.
Only registered optician with Malaysian Optical Council can prescribe, dispense and sell contact lens to the consumers. They must attend special course and passed the examination set by the Council in order to be awarded Certificate of Authorization Prescribe and Dispense Contact Lenses (Contact Lens License to Practice).
Retailers that sell contact lens without a prescription from a certified practitioner are breaking the Optic Act 1991.
3.0 It Is Safe To Use Contact Lens?
Regardless of coloured and cosmetic contact lens safeness, they should be prescribed by an Optometrist or Registered Optician. The contact lens assessment includes:
- Suitability of contact lenses wearing.
- Optometrist will perform a proper eye examination by using bio-microscopy (slit lamp) on the anterior eye including cornea, eyelids and tear quality.
- Fitting assessment of the contact lens.
- Determination of the type and contact lens parameter by measuring the visual acuity and corneal curvature.
- Consultation on the contact lens care and complications.
- Contact lens follow-up for maintaining vision and eye health.
4.0 The Harmful Use Of Contact Lenses From The Unregistered Agent / Uncertified Practitioners
Malaysian Optical Council has reported that blindness caused by contact lens infections occurred once in a month. There were also negligence of contact lens care and hygiene among the wearers which only accentuate good appearance (The Star Online dated 8/2/2015).
The main cause that contribute to the contact lens complications are:
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Long hour of contact lens wearing (more than 8 hours).
- Sleep with contact lens.
- Improper contact lens solutions regime which includes cleaning, rinsing and storing.
- Unable to follow the insertion and removal of contact lens guidelines.
- Sharing contact lens with others.
- Using expired contact lens.
- Disregard any sign and symptoms of eye complications such as eye redness, pain and discomfort, excessive discharge and blurring of vision with contact lens on.
- Failed to follow-up contact lens assessment with eye care practitioner.
Non-prescription lenses are unsafe for its quality standard. The material and sizes of the lens maybe different and not suitable with one person’s eye. Lenses with incorrect size can slide off from the pupil, be more likely to tear, and can severely irritate eyes. This happens when the optimum contact lens fitting not achieved. Over the counter or Internet contact lens usually purchased without special wearing guidelines. The lack of awareness among wearers exposed them to the serious contact lens complications such as cornea ulcer which leads to blindness.
Figure 4: Metro Online Dated 23/8/2012
Figure 5: Corneal Ulcer
Figure 6: Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis
5.0 Contact Lens Awareness Program
Contact lens are actually safe and effective as a medical device if wearers adhere to the given guidelines. In order to educate contact lens wearers, many programs has been carried out by government and NGO’s such as:
- Awareness Program through mass media including radio, TV, Internet, magazines, newspaper and advertisements.
- Talk Programs for school and universities students.
- Seminar Programs managed by the contact lens manufacturers and suppliers hyperlink astro awani.
Hence, contact lens wearers should underwent a complete eye examinations, obtained a valid prescription and consultations from the certified practitioners. Purchasing contact lens from the uncertified practitioner are discouraged.
- http://says.com/my/news/cheap-contact-lens-from-pasar-malam-and-online-shops-could- make-you-go-blind
- Bahana kanta lekap, Prof Dr Muhaya, Harian Metro , Mac 2015
- Kanta lekap,Bukan sekadar cantik, Majlis Optik Malaysia, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia
|Last Reviewed||:||31 Mac 2017|
|Writer||:||Pn. Noor Maziah Binti Mohd Zain|
|Translator||:||Pn. Noor Maziah Binti Mohd Zain|
|Accreditor||:||Pn. Nor Azizah Binti Ismail|