The Straits Times
Published on Dec 12, 2012

Impose stricter rules, penalties for opticians


AS THE optical trade is a multimillion-dollar industry, the authorities should craft stricter rules and impose stiffer penalties, such as the revoking of licences for unscrupulous practitioners who pass off inferior or fake spectacle lenses or contact lenses as genuine ("Optometrist fined for selling fake lenses"; last Thursday).

Eyesight is precious and can be damaged easily and irreversibly by misdiagnoses or prescriptions by unqualified practitioners.

Key regulatory concerns revolve around how unschooled consumers are unable to discern if they are being served by qualified and licensed opticians or optometrists.

Another concern is ensuring that the product a customer receives is genuine and of good quality.

The relevant law should require optometrists to renew their licences annually and be required to wear name tags that carry their photographs while on duty.

Also, their professional profiles and relevant personal details should be updated in an easily accessible public registry for convenient verification.

To prevent consumers from receiving inferior or fake products, a copy of the delivery note from the sole agents or distributors should be given to buyers.

This is to ensure that lenses and the certificates that come with branded products are genuine.

Lillian Lee (Mrs)