By Goh Jiah Ying, Optometrist, International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Singapore

Ms Wong Shu Ting, optometrist at United Eyecare, shared some insights on the usage and risks of cosmetic contact lenses at the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2018 held in One Farrer Hotel on 18-19 July 2018. She noted that the demand for cosmetic contact lenses had increased rapidly in recent years as these lenses are commonly used as fashion accessories to alter the appearance of the eye and improve aesthetics. Medically, they are also used to correct refractive errors and as a prosthesis for medical indications such as phthisis bulbi, iris coloboma and corneal scar.

Despite the known risks of contact lens-related complications, cosmetic contact lenses are often readily purchased over-the-counter without a proper eye check or fitting by a trained eye care professional. There have also been instances where users purchase their lenses online from unlicensed dealers, leading to risks of eye damage.

According to Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA), contact lenses are classified as medical devices and should only be prescribed, dispensed and supplied by registered optometrists and contact lens practice opticians. Before proceeding with contact lens fitting, Ms Wong also advised that primary eye care professionals evaluate and understand the user’s motivation, ocular needs and medical history. This will help ensure users adhere to the lens care regime and routine eye examinations.