SCMP Monday, July 23, 2001

Girl, 8, recounts night of pain, fear


A short-sighted eight-year-old girl felt a sharp pain in her left eye one night in February and burst into tears. Her eye was bloodshot and the corrective lens, covering her eyeball, could not be removed.
"It was so painful. I was very scared," the girl said.
The child's problem started on the ninth day of wearing Ortho-K corrective contact lenses.
A doctor at a public hospital eventually administered an anaesthetic and removed the offending lens.
He told the girl's mother that her daughter's cornea had been damaged because the curvature of the lens was incorrect.
The girl returned to her optometrist and tried out two other pairs.
With the third and last pair, she again experienced a sharp pain in one eye.
She could not remove that lens either and ended up having it taken out by a doctor at an emergency ward. "I don't think I will wear it again. I fear the pain," the child said.
Her mother, who encouraged her daughter to use the lenses because her shortsightedness was getting steadily worse, now regrets her decision.
She stopped the procedure and was refunded $2,500 of the $4,500 she paid for the first pair of lenses. She said the optical shop she used has since moved and she no longer knows where it is.
"I am so angry. They [the optometrist shop] don't take any responsibility at all. But I have finally given up," she said. "I never could have imagined it would hurt my daughter's eye. The optometrist withheld the truth without mentioning the risks and assured me it was safe. Fortunately the damage was not permanent."