Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Eye Exams for Contact LensesContact
lenses are a great alternative to wearing eyeglasses. An often unknown
fact is that not all patients wear contact lenses as their primary
source of vision correction. Each patient is different, with some
patients wearing contact lenses only on weekends, special occasions or
just for sports. That is the beauty of contact lens wear, the
flexibility it gives each individual patient and their lifestyle.

If you decide to opt for contact lens wear, it is very important that
the lenses fit properly and comfortably and that you understand contact
lens safety and hygiene. A contact lens exam will include both a
comprehensive eye exam to check your overall eye health, your general
vision prescription and then a contact lens consultation and measurement
to determine the proper lens fit.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Whether or not you have vision problems, it is important to have your
eyes checked regularly to ensure they are healthy and that there are no
signs of a developing eye condition. A comprehensive eye exam will
check the general health of your eyes as well as the quality of your
vision. During this exam the eye doctor will determine your prescription
for eyeglasses, however this prescription alone is not sufficient for
contact lenses. The doctor may also check for any eye health issues that
could interfere with the comfort and success of contact lens wear.

The Contact Lens Consultation

The contact lens industry is always developing new innovations to
make contacts more comfortable, convenient and accessible. Therefore,
one of the initial steps in a contact lens consultation is to discuss
with your eye doctor some lifestyle and health considerations that could
impact the type of contacts that suit you best.

Some of the options to consider are whether you would prefer daily
disposables or monthly disposable lenses, as well as soft versus rigid
gas permeable (GP) lenses. If you have any particular eye conditions,
such as astigmatism or dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor might have
specific recommendations for the right type or brand for your optimal
comfort and vision needs.

Now is the time to tell your eye doctor if you would like to consider
colored contact lenses as well. If you are over 40 and experience
problems seeing small print, for which you need bifocals to see close
objects, your eye doctor may recommend multifocal lenses or a
combination of multifocal and monovision lenses to correct your unique
vision needs.


Contact Lens Fitting

One size does not fit all when it comes to contact lenses. Your eye
doctor will need to take some measurements to properly fit your contact
lenses. Contact lenses that do not fit properly could cause discomfort,
blurry vision or even damage the eye. Here are some of the measurements
your eye doctor will take for a contact lens fitting:

Corneal Curvature

In order to assure that the fitting curve of the lens properly fits
the curve of your eye, your doctor will measure the curvature of the
cornea or front surface of the eye. The curvature is measured with an
instrument called a keratometer to determine the appropriate curve for
your contact lenses. If you have astigmatism, the curvature of your
cornea is not perfectly round and therefore a “toric” lens, which is
designed specifically for an eye with astigmatism, would be fit to
provide the best vision and lens fit. In certain cases your eye doctor
may decide to measure your cornea in greater detail with a mapping of
the corneal surface called corneal topography.

Pupil or Iris Size

Your eye doctor may measure the size of your pupil or your iris (the
colored area of your eye) with an instrument called a biomicroscope or
slit lamp or manually with a ruler or card. This measurement is
especially important if you are considering specialized lenses such as
Gas Permeable (GP) contacts.

Tear Film Evaluation

One of the most common problems affecting contact lens wear is dry
eyes. If the lenses are not kept adequately hydrated and moist, they
will become uncomfortable and your eyes will feel dry, irritated and
itchy. Particularly if you have dry eye syndrome, your doctor will want
to make sure that you have a sufficient tear film to keep the lenses
moist and comfortable, otherwise, contact lenses may not be a suitable
vision option.

A tear film evaluation is performed by the doctor by putting a drop
of liquid dye on your eye and then viewing your tears with a slit lamp
or by placing a special strip of paper under the lid to absorb the tears
to see how much moisture is produced. If your tear film is weak, your
eye doctor may recommend certain types of contact lenses that are more
successful in maintaining moisture.

Contact Lens Trial and Prescription

After deciding which pair of lenses could work best with your eyes,
the eye doctor may have you try on a pair of lenses to confirm the fit
and comfort before finalizing and ordering your lenses. The doctor or
assistant would insert the lenses and keep them in for 15-20 minutes
before the doctor exams the fit, movement and tearing in your eye. If
after the fitting, the lenses appear to be a good fit, your eye doctor
will order the lenses for you. Your eye doctor will also provide care
and hygiene instructions including how to insert and remove your lenses,
how long to wear them and how to store them if relevant.


Your eye doctor may request that you schedule a follow-up appointment
to check that your contact lenses are fitting properly and that your
eyes are adjusting properly. If you are experiencing discomfort or
dryness in your eyes you should visit your eye doctor as soon as
possible. Your eye doctor may decide to try a different lens, a
different contact lens disinfecting solution or to try an adjustment in
your wearing schedule.

Follow Us

Advanced Eye Care Center

4025 W Bell Rd, Suite 10
Phoenix, AZ 85053

[email protected]
(Do not send personal health information by email.)

technological advances
We are Proud to Provide Co-Management of Lasik and Cataract Surgeries