Contact Lens Exam

Those who wear contact lenses need to ensure they schedule an eye exam at least once a year.

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What Is A Contact Lens Exam?

Many people find the option of wearing contact lenses an intriguing alternative to prescription glasses. Modern optometry has advanced to the point that there are many safe and comfortable options on the market to match your needs. These include options for soft and hard lenses, disposables, extended wear, and even customized styles. Some people want them for occasional usage, while others want to make a complete switch from standard glasses.

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If you are interested in switching to contact lenses, you will first need a special lens test. As recognized medical devices, you can't simply buy a pair in the local CVS. 

A contact lens exam is comprehensive and it is comprised of the following:

  • Eye Exam: A thorough evaluation of visual acuity and overall ocular health. Contact lens prescriptions sometimes differ from those of your glasses prescription. Comprehensive testing will determine if they are suitable for you. Some people may be prone to infections and other complications. Some people require a specific type of lens. The optometrist will also speak with you about your lifestyle to find the right type of lens to match your needs and requirements. 
  • Tear Testing: This will assess to see if your eye produces sufficient tears to keep your lenses moist. 
  • Fitting: Our eyes are not uniform in size. The optometrist will use a biomicroscope to determine the size of your iris and pupil, and a keratometer to test for corneal curvature. Poorly fitted lenses may cause discomfort and can even damage the eyes. During the fitting you will select the type of lenses, such as soft lenses versus hard one, extended wear vs. disposables, etc.
  • Maintenance: The optometrist will provide instructions on how to use and care for your lenses, to ensure your health and the longevity of your lenses. This will include instructions on safely putting the lenses in your eye and removing them, as well as learning how to clean and store them properly (if they aren’t disposable). Caring for your lenses is important for your health. Unclean, poorly maintained lenses may cause medical complications and infections. 
  • You will receive your lens kit

Optometrists recommend annual exams to monitor for any changes in your prescription and for signs of eye complications. Additionally, you may be interested in switching lenses based on changes in lifestyle, or out of a desire for a new look. 

What Options Are Available For Contact Lenses?

What Options Are Available For Contact Lenses?

Not every type of lens is suitable for everyone. You will need to consider the types of lenses deemed appropriate for your eyes, as well as the style of lenses that meets your needs. You will want to consider:

  • Soft lenses: The advantage of soft lenses is that many people find them more comfortable and there are many options, such as disposable lenses and extended wear options. 
  • Scleral lenses: Scleral lenses provide comfort and improved visual acuity for people who cannot wear regular contacts following corneal surgery, or as a result of other eye disorders such as keratoconus and other ocular conditions.
  • OrthoK: These corneal shaping contacts are usually worn during the night, and they allow the wearer to have good daytime vision after using them during the night. They are sometimes used to slow down progression of childhood myopia.
  • Hard lenses: One popular option are Rigid Gas Permeables (RGP) which retain their shape while allowing essential oxygen flow to the eye. Rigid gas disposables provide sharper vision than soft disposables, and they are often used by those with uneven cornea curvature.
  • Customized: Offers changes in eye color
  • Extended-wear: These options vary. Some even allow for overnight wear, provided that all maintenance measures are followed.
  • Bifocal/Multifocal: Those experiencing common vision changes that begin in middle age should consider bifocal lenses, which feature two lenses, or multifocal lenses which feature points in the lens for different vision requirements, such as reading, close vision, etc.
  • Monovision fitting:  A specialized type of fitting where one eye is corrected for close vision, while the other is corrected for distance vision. 
Symptoms or Conditions

Symptoms or Conditions

People with sensitive eyes may develop intolerance ranging from mild infection, redness, and sensitivity, to more serious types of ocular damage. If you notice any signs or symptoms of pain or discomfort, notify your optometrist as soon as possible. Remove your contacts until you are given permission to resume wearing them.

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Common Questions

There are no best types. Depending on your eye shape and sensitivity, certain types might be more ideal. People with certain eye conditions frequently do better with hard Rigid Gas Permeable lenses. There are also considerations based on individual needs. Do you want to go with disposables or are you looking for extended use options? Speak with your optometrist to identify the type that works for you.
A contact lens exam only checks your visual acuity and determines your contact lens fit. Contrary to that, a comprehensive eye exam includes a prescription for glasses, but also assesses the overall health of your eyes and vision. A contact lens exam is extremely important if you are considering contacts, as misfitting contacts can cause damage to your eyes. A comprehensive eye exam is critical even if you wear contacts and had a contact lens exam, this is because it consists of a series of tests to check your vision and make sure you have no early signs of eye disease.
A contact lens exam typically takes a bit longer than a regular eye exam, usually around 60-90 minutes. This allows the optometrist to conduct a comprehensive eye exam and also assess your specific needs for contact lenses, including measurements and fitting.
Absolutely! Whether you've worn contacts before or are considering them for the first time, an eye doctor can perform a contact lens exam. They'll guide you through the process, ensuring that you understand how to wear and care for your contacts.
If during the comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist finds that your eyes aren't suitable for contacts, they will discuss alternative options with you. This could include different types of eyewear or other treatments to address specific eye conditions.
Insurance coverage for a contact lens exam can vary widely. Some plans may include it as part of a regular eye exam, while others may consider it a separate service. It's best to consult with your eye doctor or insurance provider beforehand to understand what's covered.
Contact Lens Exam
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Are Contact Lenses Right For You?

Contact lens technology and materials has radically evolved over the past 20 years. So even if you had difficulties in the past from high myopia, high astigmatism, corneal issues such as keratoconus, or have had discomfort when wearing contact lenses in the past, you can most likely successfully be fit with contact lenses.

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