An eye specialist has warned that the growing trend to opt for contact lenses might bring more harm than good because of the user’s disregard for proper care.

Dr Azhar Zainuddin, consultant ophthalmologist at the Kuala Terengganu Specialist Hospital (KTS), said many users knew little about wearing and using contact lenses.

“Some people buy their contact lenses at pasar malam (night markets) or any shop without consulting an eye specialist.

“This is a dangerous trend because utmost care must be taken when wearing contact lenses and they must be used properly.”

He claimed to have handled cases where the users had worn the contact lenses for long periods or had gone to sleep without removing them. This had caused eye damage that could lead to blindness.

Dr Azhar advised potential users of contact lenses to first seek the advice of an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

“They see a doctor after damage sets in, usually when the lenses cannot be removed. This is what we want the users to avert because it may be too late to save their eyes.

“We want them to see a doctor first so that we can explain the proper use of contact lenses and care of their eyes.”

Dr Azhar also lamented on poor awareness among the people on eyecare, saying that not many went for annual eye examinations.

“Every individual, even in the best of health, must have their eyes examined at least once a year. Many people only go to a doctor when the situation has deteriorated to a state where they are beginning to lose their sight.”

He said while older people might have eye problems due to diabetes or age, younger people could also suffer due to the weather and genetic factors.

Dr Azhar said the people in Terengganu did not have to go to Kuala Lumpur for eye care as KTS had an ophthalmology clinic with the latest equipment and offered various services for eye care, examination and surgery.

“We also have a contact lens clinic where people can seek advice before proceeding to use contact lenses.”

The ophthalmology clinic, owned by a Terengganu government subsidiary, has been operating from Sundays to Thursdays since November last year.

KTS is a hospital owned by TDM Berhad. It also owns the Kuantan Medical Centre in Pahang, Kelana Jaya Medical Centre in Selangor and the Taman Desa Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

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