What should you expect from a Contact Lens Exam?

A Contact Lens Exam is based on the findings of a comprehensive Eye Exam.


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The Patient History for a Contact Lens Exam will include questions that will help your eye doctor choose an appropriate lens material for you, whether Soft Disposable or Rigid Gas Permeable.

Some of the questions your eye doctor may ask include:

  • How long do you want to wear your Contact Lenses?
  • How often do you want to wear them? Do you only want to wear them for social occasions? Are you planning to sleep in contact lenses?
  • Do you often have itchy, red, burning and tearing eyes?
  • Are your eyes dry?
  • Do you take any medications? Certain medications like hormones (either for birth control or for menopause) and antihistamines can worsen the symptoms of Dry Eyes.
  • Do you work in front of a computer more than two hours per day? You will tend to blink less in front of the computer which may also contribute to Dry Eyes.
  • Are you interested in changing your Eye Color?
  • Another key component in deciding what Contact Lens to fit you with is the result of your Eye Refraction Exam.

    Examples of refractive errors include:

  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Amblyopia
  • For example, if you have moderate Astigmatism, then Toric Contact Lenses, which are special Contact Lens used to correct the astigmatism, may be a good option so that your vision can be sharper. Another good option for you is to be fit with Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses for mild to moderate Astigmatism.

    Your eye doctor will look at your Keratometry readings in order to determine the flatness or steepness of your corneal curvature.

    Because Contact Lenses must be fit according to your Corneal curvature, a Contact Lens Exam is a separate part of your routine Eye Exam.

    Remember that a Contact Lens is a controlled medical device that is placed on living tissue (i.e., your Cornea). For this reason, the relationship between your eyes and the Contact Lenses is dynamic as opposed to the static situation of wearing spectacles.

    For example, Toric Soft Contact Lenses are weighted to sit on a particular position on your eye in order to match your Astigmatism. However, factors such as the lid interaction with the Contact Lens, your blinking action, and the tear film layer between your Cornea and the Contact Lens, are all going to affect the stability of the fit and therefore the clarity of your vision.

    If a specific design of a Contact Lens is particularly unstable on your eye, your eye doctor will first try to adjust the prescription to compensate for the movement of the Contact Lens on your eye and then will change the lens brand in hopes that the new design will be more stable.

    As you can see, Contact Lens fittings are not only scientific and based on numbers, but there is a certain aspect of trial and error because of the dynamic environment that Contact Lenses must reside.

    Because adjustments may be necessary from time to time, a Contact Lens Exam by a licensed eye care provider must happen and must include you wearing the lenses to be prescribed so that your eye doctor can check your vision through the lenses and assess the fit.

    Some of the aspects of a fit that your eye doctor is looking for are:

  • How well centered is the lens? You do not want a lens that is decentered considerably and possibly not covering the Cornea in certain areas.
  • How much does the lens move when you blink? If a lens is “stuck” on the eye and does not move when you blink, this lens is too tight and can cause problems to the health of your Cornea. On the flipside, if a lens moves excessively when you blink, then it is too loose and can easily become dislodged.
  • A Contact Lens Exam is necessary for all lenses that are prescribed. If you get a prescription for a clear Soft Contact Lens that is unavailable in color, you must return to your eye doctor to get a fitting for Color Contact Lenses, if you want this type.

    As you can see, an eyeglass prescription does not require any follow up care (unless you have trouble adapting to the new prescription). But a Contact Lens Exam requires your eye doctor to assess the lens he or she is prescribing on each eye in order to make sure that the fit and vision are adequate. Also, you should try the Contact Lens for 1-2 weeks before you buy them to make sure your vision is good and the fit is comfortable.


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