Include eye screenings in the healthcare system

The 67-year-old woman who was found with 27 contact lenses stuck in one eye obviously did not visit an optometrist regularly (Surgeons find 27 contact lenses stuck in woman's eye; July 17).

Optometrists are independent primary healthcare providers specialising in eye examination and screening.

They represent the frontline of vision health.

They are trained to fit spectacles and contact lenses, and even to provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation.

Public education about vision health is part of their responsibilities.

A general eye examination carried out by an optometrist usually takes about 30 minutes.

If a biomicroscopic test to detect any foreign bodies, for example contact lenses remaining in the eye, is done, then it may take longer.

Besides testing eyesight, appropriately trained optometrists with the right equipment can also screen for diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, and refer individuals who need specialist consultation for further management.

Eye health screening consultations by optometrists for early detection of common eye diseases should be included in our healthcare system.

With an ageing population in Singapore, chronic eye conditions can be managed by optometrists in order to reduce the demands on healthcare system.

Chua Yee Leen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Include eye screenings in the healthcare system'. Print Edition | Subscribe