Contact lenses have evolved and they no longer have to look as fake and obvious as they once did. With a new generation of lenses that leave the eyes less dry, while defining and naturally enhancing the beauty of your peepers, there's no excuse to buy cheap and potentially unsafe lenses off the Internet. Looking after your eyes and having good lens practices are also important in maintaining eye health. We speak to Shirley Loh, optometrist and professional affairs director for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Singapore to find out more.

YOUR EYES NEED UV PROTECTION 
Says Loh, "It is a common oversight, but UV protection is essential for our eyes just as sunscreen is important for our skin. Exposure to harmful UV rays has a cumulative damaging effect, and can cause ocular ageing, pingueculae, cataract and other conditions." Always look for a safe brand like Acuvue Define, the only brand of contact lenses with an internationally recognised standard of UV protection across its entire product range. Loh says, "These lenses keep the eye healthy and protected from UV damage by blocking at least 82 per cent of UVA radiation and 97 per cent of UVB radiation, therefore reducing the amount of sun exposure damage to the eyes."

YOU SHOULDN'T BUY CHEAP LENSES FROM DUBIOUS SOURCES 
If there's one area where you shouldn't cut corners, it's with your eyes. Says Loh, "Quality lenses are certified by professional optometrists. However, purchase of contact lenses from the Internet do not come with such certification and may have questionable safety standards. To ensure safe long-term contact lens wear, it is crucial to not only buy quality lenses, but also see your trusted eye-care professional for a proper consultation." In addition, lenses which are not properly made can cause irritation and eye infections. But Loh says that "Acuvue Define has a unique beauty-wrapped-in-comfort technology, which seals the lens colourants between two thin, transparent layers of lens material. This ensures that the color pigments from the lenses, are never in direct contact with the eye, helping to ensure the safety of the lenses."

THE RIGHT LENSES CAN PREVENT DREADED DRY EYES
Loh says, "Acuvue Define contact lenses have lacreon technology that locks in the wetting agent within the lenses to create a cushion of moisture over 20 hours for comfort that lasts even till the end of day." Having daily disposable lenses also ensures freshness and hygiene as they stay in the packaging solution and feel fresh and comfortable every time you put a new pair on. 

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EAT RIGHT FOR HEALTHY EYES
Loh recommends eating superfoods for healthy eyes. "Protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Regularly eating foods like green, leafy vegetables, salmon and eggs provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc that can help ward off age-related vision problems. To ensure eye health, it is important to get your eyes examined at least once a year by an eye care professional for an update of your prescription."

TEAR YOUR EYES AWAY FROM THE SCREEN
While it can be addictive, staring too long at computer and phone screens makes eyes tired and can cause deterioration over time.  Loh advises, "Avoid staring at a computer screen or digital devices for too long, as we blink up to five times less which can dehydrate the tear film. Remember to take frequent rest breaks every 30-40 minutes, to look away from the screen. This provides the eye a well-deserved break, and allows the eye muscles to relax." Another important tip. "Ensure adequate lighting when reading and avoid using smartphones in the dark," says Loh. Hands up if you're guilty!

ALWAYS BE PREPARED
We asked Loh for some tips for everyday lens wearers and here is what she had to say. "Always keep a spare pair of contact lenses in your bag. This ensures hassle-free contact lenswear, whether you're at the beach or at work. If you're wearing makeup, always insert and remove contact lenses prior to applying and removing makeup. This way, the oils from makeup products won't come into contact with the eyes."