Getting a Contact Lens Exam

Glasses are great but they do have some limitations. They change the way that you look, you need to remember to take them with you if you don’t need to wear them all the time and they can’t be worn at the same time as your favorite sunglasses – and those are just a few of the issues that glasses wearers can experience. Contact lenses represent a great alternative, giving patients greater freedom and flexibility with their day-to-day lives. Whether you choose to wear contact lenses all the time or want to alternate between wearing glasses or contacts, you’ll need to attend a separate examination known as a contact lens exam.


How is a Contact Lens Exam Different From a Regular Eye Exam?


A comprehensive eye exam is an important part of your preventative care. This appointment isn’t only used to determine if you could see more clearly, but also to closely monitor the health and condition of your eyes so that any problems, like glaucoma or cataracts, can be detected early and before they have a chance to compromise your long-term vision. A visual acuity test is a crucial part of a comprehensive eye exam and tells your eye doctor how well you can see at different distances. This will be used to decide whether you would benefit from glasses or contact lenses. 


Contact Lens Prescriptions are Different From Glasses Prescriptions


If your eye doctor finds that your near, far or intermediate distance vision needs improvement, you’ll be asked whether you want to use glasses or contact lenses. The reason for this is that the prescription needed for each solution is very different. While glasses are worn a short distance from the surface of the eyes, contact lenses are worn directly on the surface. If you want to use contact lenses, you’ll need to know this prescription information which will be used when ordering your contacts.


Your Eye Doctor Will Need to Determine Which Contact Lenses You Need


Contact lens exams are also used to determine which type of contact lenses you will need. Many people don’t realize that there are actually dozens of types of contact lenses available, designed to reflect the different shapes and sizes of patient’s eyes, as well as accommodating any abnormalities or eye conditions that they have which could mean that conventional contact lenses aren’t a suitable option for them.


To determine which contact lenses are right for you, your eye doctor will carry out a number of assessments including:


A corneal topography assessment: this is used to measure the curvature of your eye and map the surface to check for any abnormalities.


Pupil measurements: this can be done using a handheld rule or a piece of equipment called a slit lamp. This measurement is needed so make sure that your chosen lenses will sit in the correct position on your eye.


Tear film evaluation: since contact lenses sit on the layer of tear film that covers the eyes, your eye doctor needs to ensure that you have enough healthy tear film for them to sit comfortably and move simultaneously with your eyes when you look around. Tear film evaluation is usually carried out by placing tiny strips of paper onto the lower lashes to see how quickly they moisten.


After your eye doctor has carried out your exam, they will be able to recommend the most suitable type of contact lens for your needs. You’ll be given a sample to try to make sure that you can handle, place, and remove the lenses and your eye doctor will check that they are comfortable and stable. Once satisfied, your chosen style of contact lenses can be ordered with your personal prescription.


If you would like to find out more about what is involved in getting a contact lens exam, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly eye care team in Westerville, OH today at (614) 686-2300.

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