By Mok Hao Ting, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

With an estimated 0.7 million drop out cases in contact lens wearers per year, a paradigm shift in the approach to contact lens usage is in order. Main reasons cited for halting the use of contact lenses were difficulties in application and removal, as well as the discomfort and dryness of the eyes.

Dr Mizhanim Mohamad Shahimin, senior lecturer and coordinator of UKM-IACLE in Optometry and Vision Sciences Programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, was an invited overseas guest speaker at the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2019 held at One Farrer Hotel on 23 – 24 July 2019. Dr Shahimin delivered a lecture on ‘Quality of Life in Contact Lens Wearer: Does it Matter?’.

To nip the problem in the bud, it is essential to understand the situation from a patient’s perspective and cater different approaches for each individual. Firstly, for potential contact lens wearers, we should make it attractive for them. Secondly, for new and existing contact wearers, we should care for them. Lastly, for patients who have stopped the use of contact lens, we should educate them on proper eye care habits and usage of contact lens.

Quality of life is defined as the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. There have been many questionnaires designed to assess a patient’s wellbeing, one of which is The Contact Lens Impact on Quality of Life (CLIQ) Questionnaire. CLIQ comprises of 28 questions and utilises a five category response scale. Questions in CLIQ delve further into the impact that contact lens has on a patient’s daily activities, cognitive issues, health issues, financial costs and physical appearance. The raw score reflects the patient’s overall quality of life, and serves as a guide for eye professionals.

Quality of life questionnaires provide a holistic approach to patients’ needs for a successful contact lens wear experience. Eye care professionals should aim to manage the expectation of patients. For example, patients with sensitive eyes often face symptoms including bulbar and palpebral conjunctival redness. With regards to these patients, the comfort of contact lens may be compromised. Thus, each clinical routine and check-up should be tailored to suit each patient, in order to fully maximise the usage of contact lens.

Dr Shahimin emphasised on the importance of establishing good communication between patients and eye care professionals. This enables professionals to choose products of optimum comfort that meet each patient’s predominant needs. It is also advised that contact lens wearers adhere to the proper lens care regime and routine eye examinations as recommended by professionals.