Visit an optometrist for primary eye care needs

We refer to the forum letters by Ms Tan Say Yin (How regularly should one go for eye screenings?; Dec 29, 2018) and Mr Lee Cheow Teck (Unable to see doctor at eye centre; Dec 15, 2018).

The Singapore Optometric Association (SOA) is glad to hear that people like Ms Tan are aware of the need for regular eye checks and follow through with visits to their eye care specialists.

With increasing age and positive family history, the likelihood of degenerative eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration increases.

With increasing myopia prevalence, it is critical for the public to have regular eye health checks by optometrists for myopia management.

This is especially so for those with high myopia, as the risks of such degenerative diseases increase even more significantly.

Ms Tan's concerns of accessing regular eye screenings and Mr Lee's need for accessible eye care is a timely reminder to the public that they can visit optometrists for their first-line eye care needs.

Optometrists are primary eye care professionals who are trained to examine eyes with a series of tests.

Optometrists are able to detect a range of eye diseases and refer patients to the appropriate eye specialists for secondary or tertiary management and timely treatment.

Not only is it more cost-effective to have eye screenings by optometrists, it is also a more efficient use of resources in restructured hospitals by referring those who need treatment rather than a screening.

SOA recommends these schedules for eye checks according to the practice guidelines of the Optometrists and Opticians Board:

•Under 16 years old: Annually

•Between 16 years old and 59 years old: Twice yearly

•60 and above: Annually

Exceptions include high-risk individuals with certain health conditions and/or progressive eye conditions such as myopia.

Chui Wen Juan (Ms)

Hon. Secretary

Singapore Optometric Association