Contact Lens Evaluation & Fitting
One thing everyone needs to do is visit their eye doctor for an annual eye exam. These exams help correct blurry vision and diagnose certain diseases in both the eyes and body. Missing this routine exam could delay diagnosis and potentially cause other problems associated with a person’s vision. Those who prefer to wear contact lenses especially need to ensure visits with the eye doctor are not missed or delayed. This is to ensure the lenses are properly fitting both eyes and the overall health of the eyes have not been harmed from wearing contact lenses. Before being able to have a contact lens evaluation and fitting, it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam.
A comprehensive eye exam, covers all the basics of a person’s eye health. This exam checks for signs of glaucoma, how the eyes work together, checks fluid pressure and checks for other eye conditions by dilating the eyes. All of these tests need to be completed before the eye doctor can evaluate a patient to be fitted for contact lenses.
After the comprehensive eye exam, those wanting to be fitted for contact lenses will undergo a few more tests. These extra tests are designed to help evaluate a person’s vision with contacts and if contacts are best for vision correction. In order to be able to prescribe contact lenses to a patient, eye doctors must determine the size and type of contacts that are best for the patient. A test to make sure the eyes produce enough tears may also be conducted.
Most eye doctors will conduct the comprehensive eye exam at the same time as the contact lens exam. In very rare cases, will the patient be asked to set up separate exams for each one.
Contact Lens Evaluation
A complete contact lens fitting and evaluation confirms the patient if a good candidate for contact lenses. Also the eye doctor issues the proper contact lens prescription. It is important to understand that an eyeglass prescription is not the same for a contact lens prescription. The two are measured differently, as eyeglasses are away from the eyes and contact lenses are set on the eyes. An improper contact lens fitting could result in severe eye damage. Not all eyes are created equal and come in all shapes and sizes. The contact lens fitting and evaluation will measure those differences.
The eye doctor will run a series of quick measurement tests when fitting a patient with contact lenses. A corneal curvature will measure the curvature and diameter of the eye. The doctor will also measure for any irregularities on the eye’s surface caused by astigmatism, as well as the size of the pupil and iris. In certain cases, the eye doctor may want to get a detailed map of the surface of the cornea.
Before the eye doctor will write the prescription, he or she will discuss with the patient which type of lenses are desired. There are a variety of options, including disposable or extended wear. Colored contacts are also available, which will alter the look of a person’s eye color. Take time to discuss the different options available and which ones will be best. Those needing bifocals now have the ability to still wear contacts. Multi-focal lenses are a great option for those needing bifocals.
At the end of the contact lens fitting and evaluation, the eye doctor will fit the patient with a trial pair of contacts. Once the trial lenses are placed on the eye, patients will be asked to blink a few times, look around the room and tell the eye doctor how they feel. While testing out the trial lenses, it may be best to wear them in short intervals throughout the day. Once the eyes have become accustomed to the contact lenses, they can be worn as normal. If there are some issues at home, try changing the length of time the contact lenses are worn.
After a few days of wearing the trial pair, the patient will return to the eye doctor’s office for a quick follow-up exam. As long as there are no issues with the contact lenses, the eye doctor will write the prescription. If there are issues or concerns, a new trial pair may be given. Then followed up with another appointment to check the fit and comfort of the new lenses.
Because contact lenses are far different from eyeglasses, it is important to talk with an eye doctor to see which option is best. Everyone is different and not all patients are good candidates for contact lenses. Take time to chat with the eye doctor, discussing options, concerns. At that point you will determine if contact lenses are the best option.
Now that the contact lenses have been fitted and evaluated, it is time to go on with day-to-day business. Unless there are issues, there will be no need to visit the eye doctor until the next year’s comprehensive exam. At which time, a contact lens fitting and evaluation will be complete again.