By Lee Hui Xin Leanne, IECRC

Mr Ivan Chew, Pharmacist and Vice-President of technology startup Accu Healthcare, delivered a lecture titled “My Vision is Blurry, Could It Be from My Medications?” during the inaugural Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) held at One Farrer Hotel & Spa on 11-12 September 2017.

Mr Chew first gave a brief introduction of pharmacodynamics, ie, how a drug affects the body. The mechanisms in which a drug exerts its effects may involve receptor binding, post-receptor effects and chemical interactions. Pharmacodynamics, together with pharmacokinetics (ie, what the body does to a drug), explain how a drug produces its desired therapeutic effect and undesired side effects.

Mr Chew delved into the different side effects and symptoms that primary eye care professionals can look out for in their patients on medications. These include sudden loss of vision, visual disturbances accompanied by eye pain and various forms of blurred vision. He highlighted that the causes of blurred vision, a common visual symptom, are multifactorial and can range from side effects of medications to many different ocular diseases.

Mr Chew concluded his lecture by emphasising the critical role of a good ocular history in arriving at an accurate diagnosis. As primary eye care professionals are the first line of contact with the public, they play a key role in the diagnosis and management of patients presenting to their optical practice with ocular conditions induced by medications.