What to Expect at a Contact Lens Exam

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For many people with impaired vision, wearing eyeglasses is unpleasant. They may be annoying to clean, easy to break, or the person may just dislike their appearance when wearing them. While lasik surgery is an option, it can be expensive and require long recovery time. Fortunately, contact lenses are a convenient solution for many people to improve their vision. Many patients believe that getting contact lenses is as as easy as getting a regular eye exam and ordering the lenses they want, but ordering contacts actually requires a much more comprehensive eye examination than ordering prescription eyeglasses.

The first part of any contact lens exam is taking measurements of the eye to find out what kind of contacts are needed. First, the optometrist will take measurements of the curve of the cornea to determine the ideal diameter and curve of the contacts. Some patients have eyes which are irregularly shaped, a condition called astigmatism. Patients with astigmatism will need to order “toric” lenses, which are shaped to correct the astigmatism.

Once the general curve of an eye is recorded, the next part of the contact lens exam is to determine if the eye is a good fit for lenses. The eye doctor will test the patient’s eyes for tear production, using a dye or a piece of paper placed on the lower eyelid. Dry eyes tend to be poor candidates for contact lenses, and tear production can affect the type of lens the patient will need.

Once all measurements have been taken, the eye doctor will provide the patient with a pair of trial lenses. These will allow the patient to practice putting the lenses in and taking them out, while the doctor will observe how they fit and are positioned as the eye moves. If everything checks out, the patient’s contact lenses will be ordered and follow-up appointments will be scheduled.

Now that you know what to expect with the exam, deciding if you want contacts should be an easy choice. If you think contact lenses are right for you, schedule a contact lens exam with your optometrist today.

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