Optical shops must go beyond refraction-only services

It is worrying that current regulations permit two different professions to perform eye examinations with different levels of responsibilities ("Understand difference between opticians and optometrists" by Dr Koh Liang Hwee; last Friday, and "High myopia increases risk of eye diseases" by Dr Tan Kah Ooi; Tuesday).

This may be confusing to consumers.

Singapore is one of the few countries worldwide that permit refraction-only services.

This goes against the recommendation by the World Council of Optometry, which previously published a strongly worded position statement against refraction-only services.

It warned that customers who have a refraction-only service may assume that their eyes have been examined to see if they are healthy.

With myopia reaching unprecedented levels, it has become extremely vital to check eye health during the delivery of primary eyecare services.

This means that refraction and eye health are two integral components of an eye examination.

For this reason, I urge the Ministry of Health to make it compulsory for all new entrants to receive full training in optometry.

At the same time, efforts could be made to ramp up skills upgrading of current optometrists and opticians.

Yap Tiong Peng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Optical shops must go beyond refraction-only services'. Print Edition | Subscribe