Friday, September 18, 2009

Free eye checks on Oct 11

Free eye checks on Oct 11
Thu, Sep 17, 2009
my paper

By Joy Fang

SINGAPOREANS are not getting their eyes checked often enough, a survey done last month has shown.

Of 324 adult Singaporeans surveyed, 65.7 per cent of them either did not remember when they last had their eyes checked, or had them checked too infrequently.

Half of those surveyed said that they did not realise regular checks are needed, while 17.4 per cent said that it was inconvenient.

Shipping executive Jason Cher, 28, has his eyes checked only every three years, when he needs a new pair of spectacles.

"I'm lazy, and I don't feel the need because I don't find any problems with my eyes," he said.

Dr Julian Theng, medical director of Eagle Eye Centre, said regular eye checks are necessary.

He explained: "There are many conditions which progress without us realising it, such as glaucoma, which you need to check on even if you do not notice that your vision is getting blurred. When you start to notice it, it might be too late."

Those who don corrective eyewear should get a check every year, while those who do not should do so every two years.

The public can get basic eye screening done by opticians or optometrists at optical shops for $25-$35, or a more in-depth check by eye specialists for about $80.

The survey also found that myths about eyecare remain widespread. Two in three respondents thought that eating carrots will improve eyesight, and that children can outgrow eye problems naturally.

The survey was done by the Singapore Optometric Association, Singapore Opticianry Practitioners and French eyewear company Essilor Asia Pacific.

To raise public awareness of eye care, they will offer free eye checks on Oct 11 - World Sight Day - in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, and launch a website with eye-care tips ( by the end of the month.

Advertisements will also be aired on 460 screens in more than 200 office buildings over two months.

Eye care tips
  • Lubricate your eyes with eye drops after a long day in the office.
  • Lower the height of the computer screen so that your eyes look slightly downwards. This reduces the risk of having dry eyes.
  • Wear a pair of shades or glasses that protect against ultraviolet rays while outdoors, even if it is not sunny. Your eyes still risk being damaged by ultraviolet rays in cloudy weather.
  • Take an "eye break" after every 30 minutes of reading or "near work".
  • Have a balanced diet to give your eyes the necessary vitamins.
  • See an eye-care professional for regular checks. A proper eye check takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Balance the time you wear glasses and contact lenses, to rest your eyes.

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