What Happens in a Contact Lens Exam?


A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to determine if you need to wear prescription lenses to help you see clearly. These tests are also used to check the health and condition of your eyes and evaluate if you are at risk of any eye diseases, they can also detect refractive eye errors. These occur when the light that passes through the eye isn’t processed correctly, causing your vision to appear blurred. The most common refractive eye error is myopia, which is characterized by the ability to see objects nearby closely, but those that far away appear blurry. Prescription lenses can be used to correct all refractive errors. 


If you decide that you prefer to wear contact lenses instead of or as well as glasses, you will need to attend an appointment that is known as a contact lens exam. This is slightly different from a standard eye exam since it is designed to look specifically at elements related to wearing contact lenses. 


Here’s what you need to know about what to expect from a contact lens appointment.


Why are Contact Lens Exams Needed?


While contact lenses are suitable for most patients, contact lens exams are carried out in order to determine whether you are a good candidate for this solution. This is because there are small groups of individuals who may have a condition that prevents them from wearing contact lenses or from them being the most effective treatment for their refractive error.


Contact lens exams are also necessary because the contact lenses themselves sit directly onto the surface of the eye. This means that the strength of the prescription that is needed will be very different from that which would be used in lenses for glasses which sit a short distance from the surface of the eyes instead. 


What Happens in a Contact Lens Exam?


There are several different things that you can expect to happen during a contact lens exam. These include the following:


  • Determination of the curvature of your cornea. This is carried out using a special tool called a keratometer, or a corneal topography scan. It first measures the surface eye area and the gradient of the curve while the latter creates a 3d map of the surface of the eyes. The information from these tests will be used to tell your eye doctor which contact lenses are most suitable for you. 


  • Measurements of your pupil/iris. Again, these are taken to ensure that your contact lenses are a comfortable and stable fit. This test is very simple and can be done using a hand-held measuring device held up to your eye or using a piece of equipment called a slit lamp which can be used to see inside your eyes as well as to measure various aspects of them.


  • Evaluation of your tear film production. Some patients suffer from a condition called dry eye which makes wearing contact lenses difficult, although there are some types that can be used by patients with dry eyes. Your eye doctor will want to see how much tear film your eyes produce before making a contact lens recommendation. 


  • The fitting itself. As you may have guessed, this is when a specific type of contact lens will be given to you to place inside your eyes to check the position and how comfortable it is. It won’t be created to your prescription, but merely used to check the fit. Once you and your eye doctor are happy with the selection, your prescription contact lenses will then be created specifically for you. 



If you have further questions about contact lens exams, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our experienced and friendly eye care team in Cave Creek, AZ today. 

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