Contact Lens Eye Exams
For many people, contacts provide great comfort and convenience. Here’s what’s involved in a typical contact lens exam and evaluation:
A comprehensive eye exam comes first
Before being fit with contact lenses, a comprehensive eye exam is performed. At this point your eye doctor determines your prescription for corrective glasses lenses as well as checks eye health.
If the exam shows no concerns, the next step is a contact lens consultation and fitting.
What to expect during a contact lens fitting and maintenance
We discuss your contact lens preferences; for example if you’re interested in daily disposables, monthly replacement, and what fit would be most beneficial for you and your lifestyle. Although most people wear soft contact lenses, the advantages and disadvantages of rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses may be discussed as well.
If you are over age 40 and require bifocals, your eye doctor will discuss monovision and multifocal contact lens options best suitable for you!
Contact lens measurements
Just as one shoe size doesn’t fit all feet, one contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If the curvature of a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your eye’s shape, you may experience discomfort or even damage to your eye. Measurements that are considered to determine the best contact lens size and design for your eyes include:
- Corneal Curvature
- Pupil & Iris Size
- Tear Film Evaluation
New to contact lens wearing / new brand
If you are new to contact lenses or changing between brands or wearing schedule, a contact lens check will be done to evaluate the contact lens fit. Lenses will be placed on your eyes and your doctor will use the microscope to evaluate the position and movement of the lenses as you blink and look in different directions. You will also be asked how comfortable the lenses feel.
You’ll need to wear these diagnostic lenses several minutes so that any initial excess tearing of the eye stops and your tear film stabilizes. If all looks good, you will be given instructions on how to care for your lenses and how long to wear them. If you are new to wearing contact lenses, you will also receive training on how to handle, apply, and remove the lenses.
Follow-up visits confirm the fit and safety
Your contact lens fitting may involve at least one follow-up visit so your doctor can confirm the lenses are fitting your eyes properly and that your eyes are able to tolerate contact lens wear. A dye (like the one used to evaluate your tear film) may be used to see if the lenses are causing damage to your cornea or making your eyes become too dry.
Often, your doctor will able to see warning signs before you are aware of a problem with your contacts. If such warning signs are evident in your follow-up visits, a number of things may be recommended, including trying a different lens or lens material, using a different lens care system, or adjusting your contact lens wearing time. In occasional cases, it may be necessary to discontinue contact lens wear altogether.
Your contact lens prescription
After finding a contact lens that fits properly, is comfortable for you, and provides good vision, your doctor will then able to write a contact lens prescription for you. This prescription will designate the contact lens power, the curvature of the lens (called the base curve), the lens diameter, and the lens name and manufacturer. In the case of GP contact lenses, additional specifications may also be included.
Routine contact lens exams
Regardless of how often or how long you wear your contacts, your eyes should be examined at least once a year to make sure your eyes are showing no signs of ill effects from the lenses.