Many people find that contact lenses offer greater freedom, convenience and a change to go “glasses-free”! SPECS, is happy to offer contact lense exams and a variety of different contact lenses to our patients.
Comprehensive Eye Exam for Contact Lenses
A contact lens exam is considered an extension of the normal eye exam given by your eye doctor. With a regular eye exam, the optometrist determines your exact prescription for corrective eye glasses, and then checks for any existing eye health problems or other issues that may potentially prevent you from being able to comfortably wear contact lenses. If no significant eye problems are found, they can write a specific prescription for contact lenses. They will typically recommend a particular type of lens depending on your individual situation and eye health. Once your contact lenses are ordered and in the store, the next step is a contact lens consultation with our SPECS staff and fitting where you will learn how to correctly place the lenses in your eyes and how to properly care for them to minimize the changes of infection. There are many types of lenses your SPECS optometrist may choose from, including:
Various Types of Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are the most frequently prescribed due to their high level of comfort when worn – it truly feels like you are wearing nothing at all in your eye. With new developments in the vision industry, soft contacts can now be considered by patients who have an astigmatism or even have extremely dry eyes. The various types of soft contact lenses include:
Daily Wear contact lenses, which can be worn up to about 12 hours each day but must be removed and cleaned at night. Remember that overnight wearing is definitely NOT recommended for daily wear lenses!
Extended Wear contact lenses, which can be worn for a longer time period than Daily Wear lenses and do not have to be removed prior to sleeping.
Colored Contact Lenses (similar to Daily Wear lenses) offer tints to change the perceived color of the eye, and can be vision-correcting or simply fashion-related (with no vision correction).
Disposable Contact Lenses, which are meant to be worn only for a short time (sometimes 1 day!) and then discarded. Disposable contacts eliminate the need to buy contact lense cleaning products and are the easiest (but most expensive) to maintain.
A Quick Overview of Contact Lens Measurements
The human eye does vary in shape and size between individual people, contact lenses need to be designed to fit your eye. If the curvature of a contact lens is too flat or doesn’t match your eye’s shape well enough, you may experience discomfort or possibly even damage to your eye. Measurements that will be taken by your SPECS optometrist to determine the best contact lens size and design for your eyes include:
Corneal curvature. Using an instrument called a keratometer, a measurement of the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) is taken. This measurement helps your doctor select the best curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is found to be somewhat irregular because of astigmatism, you may require a special lens design known as a “toric” contact lens. At one time, only gas permeable contact lenses could correct for astigmatism. But now, there are many brands of soft toric lenses, which are available in disposable, multifocal, extended wear and colored versions. In some cases, a detailed mapping of the surface of your cornea (called corneal topography) may be done to provide extremely precise details about surface characteristics of your cornea and to create a surface “map” of your eye.
Pupil and iris size. Believe it or not, the size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) can play an important role in determining the best contact lens design for you. These measurements may be taken with a lighted instrument called a biomicroscope (also called a slit lamp) or simply with a hand-held ruler or template card.
Tear film evaluation. To be successful wearing contact lenses, you must have an adequate tear film to keep the lenses and your cornea sufficiently moist and hydrated. This test may be performed by placing a liquid dye on your eye so your tears can be seen with a slit lamp, or with a small paper strip placed under your lower lid to see how well your tears moisten the paper. If you have dry eyes, only certain contact lenses may be suitable and comfortable for you.
Contact Lens Prescription
Sometimes a trial set of contact lenses will be given in order to verify that you have a comfortable fit and the correct prescription for the best vision experience. Your SPECS optometrist will have you put on the trial lens and then will evaluate the position and movement of the lens. If you are a first-time user of contact lens, you will be given instructions on how to care for your lenses and how long to wear them. You will also receive training on how to handle, apply and remove the lenses by our SPECS staff.
Once you find a contact lens that fits properly, is comfortable for you, and provides good vision, the optometrist will write a contact lens prescription for you. This prescription will designate the contact lens power, the curvature of the lens (called the base curve), the lens diameter, and the lens name and manufacturer.
Regardless of how often or how long you wear your contact lenses, your eyes should be examined at least once a year to make sure your eyes remain healthy and tolerant of contact lens wear.
Call our office today to schedule your eye exam!