Contact lenses offer more convenience for many people who require corrective vision wear, and are in fact, preferred over traditional eyeglasses. If you are interested in getting contact lenses, you will need an examination and fitting. Here is what you can expect when you visit the eye specialist to discuss the possibility of contact lens use.
A Full Eye Examination
If you think you need contact lenses or you wear glasses and prefer wearing them, you can schedule an appointment with the eye doctor to determine if lenses are ideal for you. You will get a full eye examination to determine what eyeglasses corrective lens prescription you need. The doctor will evaluate your eyes for a variety of eye conditions that may or may not affect your ability to wear contact lenses. If you pass the eye examination, you will have a consultation for contacts and lens fitting(s).
Contact Lens Fittings
At your consultation and fitting, you can make some decisions based on your lifestyle and what you want the lenses to do. For instance, you have the option of getting colored contacts if you desire, or you can invest in overnight wear or disposable lenses. While soft contacts are typically the popular choice, there are pros and cons associated with the use of gas permeable GP or RGP contact lenses that you will go over with the vision specialist during the consultation.
People who are 40 years of age or older may require special lenses called bifocals. There are bifocal and multifocal lenses one can use for vision correction and the doctor will discuss this with you during the consultation. What’s more, you may also have the option of lenses offering monovision, which is the use of two different lenses, one for distance, and one for near vision.
Measurements of Lenses
Contact lenses are in different sizes because everyone has different needs. It is important for the lens to fit correctly, otherwise you will experience discomfort, irritation, and the lenses may even damage the eye of you are not careful. The contact lens’ curvature cannot be too steep of too flat for the shape of your eye. The doctor will take measurements of your eyes to determine what contact lens design will best suit your needs. The options include:
Corneal curvature: The doctor will use a keratometer in order to take measurements of the cornea’s curve. The cornea is the transparent covering over the iris and pupil in the front of your eye. The kerameter allows the eye doctor to decide what diameter and curve you need for your contacts. If you have astigmatism making your eye shape irregular, you might need toric contacts, all of which come in colored, extended wear, multifocal, and disposable versions. Formerly, if you had astigmatism you could only get gas permeable contacts.
There are some instances when the doctor may perform a corneal topography where he or she maps the cornea’s surface. This procedure gives the doctor a colored map to the surface of your eye and indicates where there are contours.
Pupil and iris size: Your pupil size and your iris influence the type of contacts that will work best for you. The latter statement is especially true when you are getting rigid gas permeable contacts. The doctor may use a biomicroscope or slit lamp, a lighted instrument, to measure your eyes. Otherwise, the doctor might also use a template card and ruler to make measurements.
Tear film evaluation: To wear contacts you need to be able to produce enough tears. To doctor will make sure your eyes are capable of remaining hydrated and moist by using a liquid dye that allows the doctor to see your tears with the use of a slit lamp. Alternatively, the doctor may put a small piece of paper under your eye’s lower lid. The latter test allows the doctor to see if and how well the tears moisten the strip. People with problems related to dry eye conditions may have trouble with contact lenses. Your tear production will play a role in whether or not you can use lenses as well.
Trial Contact Lenses
When fitted for contacts, you will are given trial lenses; the doctor will put a lens in one eye. Once the lens is in your eye, the doctor will view the eye with a slit lamp to see how the lens moves and how it positions itself in your eye when you look around and blink. The doctor will ask you how the lenses feel in your eyes following the examination.
When wearing trial lenses, your eyes may tear up more for a period of 15 minutes. After that, your tear film returns to normal and stops excess tearing. When the fitting is over you get care instructions and information on how to change them as well as how long you can wear them before putting in a new pair. You get on-site instruction on lens use, application, and removal.
Follow-Up Exams, Safety, and Good Fit
After your fitting, you may have one or more return visits to the eye doctor to make sure there are no compromises to your eye health through contact lens use. The doctor may put a dye in your eyes to see if the surface of the eye has endured any damage from lens wearing. The eye doctor will evaluate your tear production.
If the doctor notes the warning signs of eye damage or potential injury, you might have to get different lenses or material, or you might get different lens care guidelines. You might also need more time to adjust to wearing the lenses. If there is a danger to your eye health, the doctor may advise you to refrain from using the lenses anymore.
Prescriptions for Lenses
Once you find contacts that fit, supply vision corrective measures, and give you total comfort when in use, you will get a prescription for the lenses in question. The prescription contains the base curve or curvature of the lens, the power, diameter, manufacturer, and lens name. If you are using gas permeable contacts additional information may appear on the prescription.
Routine Examinations & Contact Lenses
When wearing contacts, you need an eye examination once a year. The exam will ensure there is no damage to your eyes and that you are faring well with contact lens use. Routine examinations are incredibly important to your immediate and long-term eye health.