Monday, October 20, 2008

A Ray Of Light For The Myopic

Dr Law demonstrating how the new Advanced Control Eye-Tracking technology works.

NEW technology with the ability to track rotation of the eyeball during laser eye surgery is offering hope to those with serious myopia and astigmatism. Such patients were previously deterred from opting for Laser-Assisted In situ Keratomileusis or LASIK, a type of refractive laser eye surgery used to correct myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism, said consultant ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr Michael Law Sie Haur.

The new technology called Zyoptix Advanced Control Eyetracking (ACE) adjusts for eye rotation in any direction within 15 degrees during LASIK surgery, thus ensuring that the laser beam is always aimed at the correct intended spot on the cornea.
During LASIK, a thin flap of corneal tissue is cut and then peeled back from the front of the cornea (the transparent covering over the pupil). The laser gently vaporises away some of the corneal tissue beneath the flap to make the cornea a slightly different shape to correct pre-existing refractive errors. The flap is then placed back over the front of the eye.

Explaining the significance of ACE, Dr Law said prior to the new technology eye rotation during surgery affected the predictability of outcomes, which was why doctors often discouraged patients with significant short-sightedness and astigmatism from opting for LASIK. “Studies have shown that in 8.3 per cent of surgeries, the eye rotates by more than three degrees, up to a maximum of 19 degrees, and this would affect the outcome of the surgery, especially in those with very bad myopia and astigmatism when treatment covers many sessions.

Designed to improve patient safety, ACE is the world’s first Dynamic Rotational Eye-Tracking (DRET) system that constantly tracks eye movements during application of the laser, while simultaneously adjusting the laser ablation pattern for the duration of the LASIK treatment. “The ACE system reduces the risk of misalignment and improves compensation for eye movements, thus correcting for both eye rotation and pupil centre movement with different pupil diameters.

DRET provides added safety by stopping the laser if the eye moves too fast for it to be safely followed by the eye tracker. Dr Law said by following the iris and the rotations of the eye, the outcome for patients, especially those with a high degree of astigmatism and myopia, is much improved because the system accurately maps the laser pulses on the part of the cornea where the surgeon is working.

Dr Law said LASIK is now as safe as contact lenses as the probability of the treatment causing a significant loss of vision is about 0.01 per cent. The procedure is rapidly being acknowledged as a viable alternative to glasses and contact lenses for people suffering near- and far-sightedness, with over 16 million worldwide having had LASIK to date, according to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

“Contact lens wearers have a one per cent risk of developing a serious contact lens-related eye infection over 30 years of use. “There is also a 0.05 per cent chance of experiencing significant vision loss as a result of such infections over the same period.”

Types of refractive errors

GOOD vision is the result of sharp images being focused on the retina (the sensory nerve layer of the eye). The optical system of the eye, which consists of the cornea, lens and vitreous body, bends rays of light to focus exactly on the retina of the eye. This bending of light rays is called refraction.

Refractive errors of the eye occur when the cornea and the lens do not properly focus the light rays on the retina.

In normal vision (emmetropia), the focusing powers of the cornea and the lens are perfectly matched to the length of the eye ball.

In myopia, the most common type of refractive error in Asia, the cornea is too curved for the eye ball. Distant objects cannot be seen clearly because light rays are focused in front of the retina. A person with myopia is able to see clearly close objects, whereas those at a distance appear blurry. In hyperopia, individuals are able to see far objects relatively sharply but not so with closer things. The cornea is too flat or the lens too weak for the length of the eye ball. As a result, the cornea and the lens focus the light rays behind the retina.

In astigmatism, images of objects at close and far distances appear distorted. Usually the reason for this is the shape of the cornea, which resembles more the shape of an egg than that of a ball.

The result is that light rays are bent in different directions and do not focus on one refractive point on the retina.

(Taken from The New Strait Times Online)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Look, They're All Eyeing Those Palin Glasses

KUALA LUMPUR: Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. Jennifer Aniston. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They are fashion icons whose style and taste have been copied by millions of adoring fans worldwide. But Sarah Palin?

Unlikely as it may seem, the United States vice-presidential candidate is starting a fashion craze to rival Beckham's "pob", Aniston's "Rachel" hairstyle and Onassis' "Jackie O" sunglasses which is a must-have for every style queen.

Palin, a gun-toting, moose-hunting former beauty queen, is an unexpected fashionista.

A self-confessed "pitbull in lipstick" and "hockey mum", Palin is finding her niche in the fashion industry with her Kazuo Kawasaki rimless eyeglasses.

Thousands of women around the world are rushing to their local optician demanding for a pair of "The Palin".

Even Malaysian women cannot escape this craze and sales of this branded eyewear have seen a tremendous increase.

"There is definitely a lot of enquiries into the Kawasaki glasses since the story about her eyewear was published," Eyez Optometry Sdn Bhd owner Kevin Siew told the New Straits Times.

The majority of enquiries, Siew said, came from businesswomen who insist on the "exact model, shape and colour as Palin's".

Palin wears a Kazuo Kawasaki MP-704 in light grey.

But Palin is not the first US politician to hit the headlines with her eyewear.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell became a short-lived fashion icon with his pair of Kazuo Kawasaki's.

"Women want to imitate Palin's image because it feels good to wear something similar to those worn by a powerful person. It gives them satisfaction," Siew said.

But this "good feeling" does not come cheap. This Japanese-made frame costs from RM600 to RM1,000.

Siew said a new stock of "The Palin" will arrive by the end of this month.

He expects they will be sold out very quickly.

These spectacles are so popular that cheap knock-off models are abundant.

A random check on retail websites showed a variety of "The Palin" imitations. One website even named their product "The Governess", and available at a quarter of the price of a genuine Kawasaki.

The spectacles are flying off the shelves so fast that the manufacturer, Masunaga Optical Manufacturing Co Ltd, based in Fukui, Japan, has stopped producing other Kazuo Kawasaki models to focus on "The Palin".

A Masunaga Optical (Malaysia) Co Ltd spokesperson said the head office decided to concentrate on the Palin model to cater to the high demand.

The bulk of "The Palin" orders come from the US and, surprisingly, Taiwan and the Philippines. Masunaga exports roughly 10,000 pairs of "The Palin" to the US monthly.

Palin has also hit the headlines because her lip liner is believed to be a tattoo.

But lip liner tattooing is not new to Malaysians. Along with eyebrows and eyeliners, lip liner tattooing is one of the most popular and common cosmetic procedures in the country.

A staff of Bella Skin Care beauty salon said Malaysian women have been getting cosmetic tattoos since 20 years ago.

"The procedures aren't new. Even my mother had her eyebrows and lips done," she said.

Beautician Rose Mah does not think that there will any significant rise in lip liner tattooing because of Palin.

"Unlike eyeglasses, which you can change when you get tired of it, this is a tattoo. Plus, the procedure isn't new," Mah said.

But with weeks to go before the American presidential elections, there is still plenty of time for Palin to start a new fashion craze.

(Taken from The New Straits Times Online)


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Boys Do Make Passes At Girls Who Wear Glasses

Washington, May 13 (IANS) Time to rewrite the old saying about boys not making passes at girls who wear glasses. They well may - and vice versa. According to a new study that points to changing societal perceptions, kids who wear glasses were rated as “cooler” than those who didn’t - a far cry from days when those wearing glasses was seen as nerdy, or even ugly.

The Ohio State University study involved children aged between 6 and 10 who were otherwise oblivious of the looks or attractiveness of their specs-wearing peers, their potential as a friend or their athletic abilities.

Eighty young children - 42 girls and 38 boys - were surveyed. Of those, 30 kids (38 percent) wore glasses, 34 had at least one sibling with glasses and almost two-thirds had at least one parent who wore glasses.

Presented with photos of a child with and another without glasses, the participants were asked which of the two they would rather play with; looked smarter; looked better at playing sports; was better looking; looked more shy; and looked more honest.

Most thought kids with glasses looked smarter than those without. They also felt kids wearing glasses looked more honest.

These findings might come in handy when children are fitted with their first pair of eyeglasses, said the study’s co-author Jeffrey Walline.

“If the impression of looking smarter will appeal to a child, I would use that information and tell the child it is based on research,” Walline said.

“Most kids getting glasses for the first time are sensitive about how they’re going to look. Some kids simply refuse to wear glasses because they think they’ll look ugly.”

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.

(Taken From ThaiIndian.Com)



Monday, June 16, 2008

Contact Lens: Optometrist Wants Health Ministry To Take Action

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- The Association of Malaysian Optometrists Wednesday asked the Health Ministry to take stern action against any contact lens manufacturer or distributor who sells contact lenses to unlicensed practitioners.

Its President Dr Chung Kah Meng said any distributor who advocates the practice of giving free trial pairs of contact lenses without proper eye examination by licensed contact lens practitioners should be prosecuted.

He said recent reports of fungal corneal infection among contact lens users have caused a lot of confusion and uncertainties among the users.

According to the Optical Act, he said, only registered optometrists and opticians who are specially licensed can prescribe contact lenses.

"All licensed practitioners are given an annual practising licence by the Optical Council of Malaysia located at the Health Ministry. The public can ask to see the certificates if they want to know if the practitioners are licensed," he told Bernama.

"There are however many opticians who are not licensed to prescribe contact lenses. We also know of many opticians who use the word "Optometry" in their practice pretending to be optometrists and fitting contact lenses," he said.

Dr Chung said the association, the only professional body which represents the primary eye care/optometry practitioners in Malaysia, had asked the Health Ministry to take stern action against opticians using the word "optometry" to mislead the Malaysian public.

"Time and again the Association of Malaysian Optometrists has called upon the ministry to tighten up control on unlicensed contact lens practitioners. The ministry's enforcement task force should act quickly now and prosecute these unlicensed practitioners who are selling and fitting contact lenses illegally," he said.

To upgrade the standard of primary eye care, Dr Chung said the association had also asked the ministry to speed up the process of linking Continuing Education (CE) points to the Annual Practising Licence under which practitioners must attend a certain number of hours lectures, conferences or trainings recognised by the association as a prerequisite for the licence to be renewed.

"We hope in due course, only practitioners who are knowledgeable and with current information about primary eye care will be licensed to practise annually in future," he said.

In Malaysia, there are about 1,200 licensed contact lens practitioners, besides eye doctors (ophthalmologists) who can prescribe contact lenses.

Dr Chung said increased incidences of contact lens infections reported in the media recently cannot solely be attributed to the use of certain contact lens solutions.

"Many factors may be involved in the causation of a contact lens infection e.g. poor contact lens hygiene by wearers, poor compliance, unlicensed contact lens practitioners, lack of contact lens knowledge provided by practitioners as well as lack of legislative control and enforcement on contact lens practitioners," he said.

To prevent contact lens associated infections, the association called on all contact lens wearers to adhere to proper contact lens hygiene procedures such as always wash your hands properly with soap and water and dry them before handling the contact lens, contact lens solutions and all related accessories.

"Besides that do not wet the lens with saliva, bottled water or tap water, discard any unused contact lens solutions after one month of opening the bottle and follow the wearing hours and replacement schedules as recommended by optometrists and ophthalmologists," he said.

He said the association would provide a hotline number for public consultation during working hours at Tel 012-3979498.

Any information and enquiries can be e-mailed to or access the homepage at



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Opticians And Optometrists Are Not The Same

Monday April 28, 2008

PETALING JAYA: Not many are aware about the difference between optician and optometrist, said the Association of Malaysian Optometrists.

Its president Dr Chung Kah Meng said the term “optometry” was widely used, and this has caused many people to be confused between the job scope of opticians and optometrists.
As such, he proposed that the term “optometry” should be protected under the Optical Act 1991, just like the term “optometrist”.

He said that to become an optometrist one needed to obtain a four-year degree while an optician only goes through a two-year course to get a diploma.

Dr Chung said an optometrist was qualified to examine eyes for defects or faults of refraction, and conduct tests such as measurement of visual acuity and refraction, visual field screening, and measuring intra-ocular pressure.

“We are automatically qualified to prescribe and dispense contact lenses too, while opticians have to sit for an exam conducted by the Malaysian Optical Council (MOC) before they can become contact lens practitioners,” he said.

He said a media report that said optometrists had failed the MOC exam was not accurate as only opticians had to sit for the exam.

Dr Chung said that in Britain opticians were not allowed to conduct eye tests and their role was to dispense spectacles as prescribed by the optometrists.

“But in Malaysia, there are not enough optometrists when the Optical Act 1991 was formulated, so opticians were allowed to conduct eye tests,” he said.

(Taken From The Star Online)


Optometrists Fail Contact Lens Exam

Sunday April 20, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: All the optometry practitioners for contact lenses who sat for the exam last December had failed.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said those who aspire to prescribe and dispense contact lenses need more training as none of the 153 who sat for the exam set by the Malaysian Optical Council last year passed.

"In order to ensure only competent practitioners are allowed to prescribe contact lenses, they have to pass all four components of the exam.

"I understand that in the exam conducted in December, none of the 153 candidates passed all four components, while 95 people or 62% actually failed all four components," he said in his address at the 23rd anniversary celebration of the Malaysian Association of Practicing Opticians (Mapo).

According to industry sources, the passing mark was set very high at 80%. The exam last year was the first conducted by the Council.

Prior to the introduction of the exam by the council, the source said opticians who wished to be contact lens practitioners had to only sit for an exam by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.

Liow said there were currently only 1,138 optometrists and opticians in the country who were certified and permitted to prescribe and dispense contact lenses.

In total, he said there are 3,072 registered optometry practitioners in the country, of which 21% were optometrists (degree holders) and the rest opticians (diploma holders).

(Taken from The Star Online)



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Keep A Watchful Eye On Optometry Centres

Friday April 4, 2008

I REFER to the letter “Optical shops not manned by eye-care specialists” (The Star, March 24) by Shirinia and another one by Christopher Birch, “Concern over standard of optical care” (The Star, March 26.)

I would like to thank both writers for highlighting this issue. The Health Ministry is aware of the problem and has already taken steps to educate the public by implementing the photo name certificate to be displayed in Optical outlets so that the public will not be cheated by unlicensed and unqualified practitioners.

This is an interim measure taken while awaiting amendments to strengthen the provision of enforcement in the Optical Act 1991.

They will collaborate with the relevant agencies to control the issuance of multiple business licences to single qualified practitioners which has resulted in the mushrooming of optical outlets.

We also urge the public to lodge complaints to the Ministry if they have any information on practitioners and optical premises operating illegal optometry practices.

Our address is Malaysian Optic Council, Ministry of Health, Aras 2, Blok E1, Parcel E, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62590 Putrajaya. You can also email us at

Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican,
Director General of Health,