Why are Contact Lens Exams Important?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, June 8, 2021
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Contact lenses that don’t fit properly can cause discomfort and even eye damage.

A contact lens eye exam is vital for anyone interested in wearing contact lenses for the first time, and for all people currently wearing contact lenses.

To ensure that your vision with contacts is comfortable, clear and safe, contact an eye doctor near you who can provide you with the right lenses for you.

Find an eye doctor near you

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses.

A contact lens prescription measures for lenses that sit directly on the surface of the eye, while an eyeglass prescription measures for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from the eyes.

The prescription for contact lenses includes the following, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription;

  • Material or Brand
  • Lens powers
  • Lens curvature
  • Lens diameter
  • Cleaning solution (if required)
  • Wearing instructions

What is a contact lens exam?

During a contact lens exam, your eye doctor will perform specific tests to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts;

  • Eye evaluation – Are you suitable for contact lenses?

Each eye is shaped differently. Therefore, one contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for a patient’s corneal shape, they may experience discomfort or even eye damage.

An eye doctor takes certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for their patient’s eyes.

  • Corneal curvature – measures the curvature of the eye’s cornea (clear front surface) so the eye doctor can select the optimal diameter and curve for the lenses. If the surface of a patient’s eyes is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, a special lens may be required.
  • Pupil and iris size – to determine the best contact lens design, the size of your pupil and iris is also important.
  • Tear film evaluation – to determine whether your tears will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day, the quality of your tears is evaluated. If you have dry eye syndrome, standard contact lenses may not be a good fit.
  • Trial lenses – How do you feel wearing contact lenses?

Following the eye exam, the optometrists will use their experience and analysis to establish which are the best lens options for you.

The optometrist, or the staff, will use trial lenses which are provided to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer comfortable and clear vision. This allows your eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the many parts of the contact lens prescription.

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts while keeping your eyes comfortable and healthy.

Important: If you’re already a contact lens wearer, even if you are not experiencing any problems, it’s essential to visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum comfort, vision and eye health.

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to make sure your contact lenses fit properly.