ASSOCIATION of Malaysian Optometrists president Murphy Chan said the trend of using contact lenses without proper prescription by many was a worrying matter.
“Before using contact lenses, they must check their eyes first,” said Chan when contacted.
He said there are many types of contact lenses in the market, and users must know which suited their needs.
“Only a trained optometrist can determine the health of your eye,” he said, adding that size of the contact lens, user’s lifestyle and water content of the lens are some of the factors one needs to look into when buying them.
He said maintenance of the contact lenses is also important, as one needs to know how to clean and care for the lenses to avoid eye infections.
He expressed his concern over the sudden increase of night market traders selling coloured contact lenses.
In Malaysia, Chan said only optometrists and opticians who are licensed to prescribe contact lens are awarded the green and pink certificates from the Malaysian Optical Council (MOC).
He said those who hold the blue certificate are only authorised to prescribe spectacles but not contact lenses.
These certificates are usually displayed on the wall of the shops.
At present there are 1,200 registered optometrists and 3,000 opticians permitted to prescribe and dispense contact lenses.
“Many customers use it for beauty or fashion purposes and often brush off minor eye irritations which could turn out to be a serious infection later,” he said.
Chan said several studies overseas had warned about the dangers of wearing decorative contact lenses.
“Proper eye care is as important as health care and should not be taken lightly,” he said.
However, most prescribed lenses do not come cheap.
Several studies conducted abroad found that there are various complications to the eye health while wearing decorative contact lenses without prescription.
At optical shops, they are priced between RM50 to RM150 for three pairs.
Due to the demand for coloured lenses , many fashion clothing vendors are also selling the lenses imported from China and South Korea.
A check found t hat traders at several night markets in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur, also sell the designer contact lenses.
These come in various sizes and colours, featuring a wide array of designs and which are not found in optical stores.
Customers at night markets also get to choose lenses with designs such as hearts, roses or stars printed on them, said Cherry Wong who operates a stall in Taman Connaught, Cheras.
She said most customers usually look for the pref erred diameter before choosing the designs.
Wong has a stack of files for non-prescriptive lenses priced at RM10 per pair and prescribed ones that cost RM15 to RM25 per pair.
Besides night markets, customers also go to a wholesale mall to buy in bulk.
During a visit to the centre, five shops were found selling the contact lenses.
One store has stacked its supplies behind rows of handphone accessories, and are only sold in bulk.