Contact Lens Fitting

For people considering contact lenses, a contact lens exam is very important and should not be considered a routine eye exam. Non-prescription contacts can be uncomfortable to the eyes and may cause damage to the cornea. Your doctor will examine your eyes to make sure you won’t have any issues while wearing them and ensuring your contact lenses are the right shape and strength.

If you searching for an effective way to correct your vision, but feel that glasses don’t suit you or your lifestyle, then contact lenses may be the perfect solution. Before deciding on contact lenses, it is very important that you understand the process required to obtain and use the lenses, and also know how to properly maintain them.

Many people confuse a contact lens exam and a routine eye exam as the same. In fact, there are some unique differences between the two, with a contact lens exam acting as more of a consultation with your doctor.

A routine eye exam is aimed at detecting eye disease, vision problems, and general eye health issues that cannot be detected in their early stages without direct examination. During a lens exam, however, the corneal surface will be properly examined and directly measured to ensure a suitable lens fit.

One thing many patients are not aware of is that prescriptions for glasses are not the same as those for contact lenses. This is because a contact lens sits directly on your eye, whereas a glasses lens is some distance away. An accurate prescription for contact lenses should only be issued after series of eye exams and tests have been performed by a medical professional.

There are other things to consider before you decide to wear contacts. For example, contacts are not meant for dry eyes – although artificial tears can be used to moisten dry eyes, contact lenses can exacerbate the issue.

There are three major components to any contact lens fitting and exam:

  • Consultation
  • Examination
  • Contact lens fitting and exam

CONSULTATION

Your first visit to your optometrist will have you answering a series of questions regarding your current eye health, contact lens preferences, and even your lifestyle. These questions will provide your doctor with the information needed to determine whether contact lenses are a good option for you and what prescription you will need.

EXAMINATION

After the consultation, your doctor will perform a routine eye examination. This eye exam allows your optician to measure the surface of your eye (with an instrument called a keratometer) to determine its corneal curvature and the ocular surface quality. This is the starting point for determining the size and proper curve of your contact lenses.

To observe the eye structure and the efficiency of your eye muscles, your optometrist will investigate how your eyes will react to contacts. You will also undergo a visual acuity test to test how clearly you can see the numbers and letters on an eye chart. Sometimes, eye drops may be put into your eyes and other elementary tests may be performed to determine what kind of corrective lenses and prescription strength you will need.

REFRACTION

The refractive test helps your eye specialist determine the level of augmentation that is sufficient for your vision. Refraction is carried out with an instrument known as a phoropter. After the test, the doctor will show you different lens choices and ask you to decide on appears clearer. Your choice/answer will enable your doctor to determine your level of farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia, and/or astigmatism.

SLIT-LAMP EXAMINATION

A slit-lamp is an instrument that is used to examine the overall health of your eyes by magnifying all of the structures within them. With the aid of this machine, your eye specialist can analyze each part of your eye to assess it for disease, injury, or infection.

There are various other tests that eye specialists can use during an eye examination to determine the overall well-being and health of your eyes, and these will be performed on a case-by-case basis as necessary.

CONTACT LENS EXAMINATION

The size, shape, and curvature of your eyes are unique, and accurate measurements need to be taken in order to determine the exact fit of your contact lenses. A contact lens that does not fit properly can cause damage and discomfort.

Trial lenses may be prescribed to assess how you will respond to your contacts during regular daily use. Some lenses may seem to fit perfectly at first, only to tighten or dry up after several hours of use.

Whether your eyes are too wet or too dry can influence the longevity of contact lenses.

After a successful contact lens exam, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate lens for you. Consequent follow-up visits may be arranged, depending on how well the new lenses fit your eyes. If problems develop, the doctor has the ability to address and solve them during these follow-up visits. After completing your contact lens fitting, you will still need your eyes and contact lenses examined by your doctor at least once per year.

TYPES OF LENSES

There are many different types of contact lenses available to meet your vision needs. The type of lens you receive will be prescribed pursuant to what type of vision correction is needed (e.g., presbyopia, astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness).

DEVICES USED IN CONTACT LENS FITTING

1. Biomicroscope

This device is used by eye specialists to evaluate the health of your cornea. Ensuring a healthy cornea means you’ll have no complaints when you wear your contacts. Consult your eye doctor regularly if they cause any inconvenience.

2. Keratometer

This is an instrument used during contact lens fitting. It measures the curvature of the surface of your eyes. It indicates a value for size and curve. They also use computerized measurement to get the actual size of the entire surface of your eyes.

BENEFITS OF CONTACT LENS FITTING AND EXAM

Contact lens fittings and eye exams will help you understand the benefits and complexities of contact lenses. They’ll also teach you how to use and maintain your gas-permeable contact lenses. Generally, eye care specialists will measure your cornea (using a keratometer), and these measurements will determine the curvature to be implemented along the back surface of the lens. The back of a typical conventional lens has one curvature value corresponding to the central part of the lens and at least two flatter curvatures in periphery.

MAINTENANCE

Before you start wearing contact lenses, you must understand how important maintaining them is. When you get your new lenses, your eye specialist will recommend the right cleaning procedure for your lenses. Some eye doctors may provide you with a starter cleaning and storage supply kit. You must remember that proper maintenance, a replacement schedule, and care are important for safeguarding your eye health.