Contact Lens Examinations: What You Need To Know

Contact lens examinations take longer and require more tests than a regular eye exam. If you wish to try contact lenses you need to inform your eye care professional’s office when you book the appointment so enough time can be reserved for the contact lens fitting. The average exam takes about 90 minutes.

There are three main parts to your contact lens exam and fitting: – Consultation – Examination – Contact lens fitting and instruction

Consultation When you first enter the office your eye doctor will ask a number of questions regarding your lifestyle, current eye health and contact lens preferences. These questions will help your eye doctor to determine if contact lenses are right for you and also what kind of contact lenses would be the best fit.

Examination Next your eye doctor will perform a routine eye exam.

Your eye doctor will shine a light into your eyes in order to observe the eye structure and how well your eye muscles function. A visual acuity test will be given to rate how well you can see the letters and numbers on a standard eye chart. Drops may be put in your eyes and other basic tests performed to determine if you need corrective lenses and what your prescription strength would be.

Contact Lens Examination The curvature, size and shape of your eyes are unique and so measurements need to be taken in order to determine the correct fit for your contact lenses. If contact lenses are not fitted properly they can cause discomfort and even eye damage.

– The eye doctor will use an instrument called a keratometer (a type of digital camera) to measure the curvature of your cornea. Normally you sit facing the instrument with your chin in a brace (so you can’t move) while the keratometer photographs your eye. The measurements it takes are calculated mathematically to determine the correct size and curve for your contact lenses. Another method called corneal topography may be used to provide precise details of your eye to your eye doctor.

– Next your eyes pupil and iris size are measured using a ruler, pupil card or pupillometer.

– A biomicroscope will be used to evaluate the health of your cornea and also to check the fit of your trial contact lenses.

– A tear film evaluation may also be performed to check the moisture in your eye. This can be done by inserting a small strip of paper under the lower eyelid or by placing fluorescein dye in your eyes and seeing how long it takes for your tears to remove it. This test determines if you have issues with dry eye. If you have severe dry eye you may not be able to wear contact lenses or you may need special contact lenses.

Contact Lens Fitting and Instructions Finally after your tests are complete, trial contact lenses will be fitted. You will need to wait 10-15 minutes for your eyes to settle down before the eye doctor can determine if the fit is correct. You may also need to try on more than one pair before you find just the right ones for you.

During the fitting your eye doctor will teach you how to insert and remove your contact lenses. They will discuss proper cleaning and maintenance routines and will give you written instructions to follow when you get home.

Follow-up exams will be scheduled to check on your progress with your new contact lenses. If you notice any vision changes, discomfort or problems you should contact your eye care professional immediately.

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