eye exams for contact lenses

How Do I Get Contact Lenses?

It is easy to assume that getting an eye exam and receiving contact lenses and eyeglasses is as easy as walking into the eye doctor's office and walking out with a prescription. However, eye exams for contact lenses tend to involve a surprising amount more of variables than one might expect.

Unlike eye exams for eyeglasses, which can sometimes be as simple as having your eye blasted with oxygen and reading off a few letters on an eye chart, an exam for contact lenses involves a step-by-step series of question and answer-style interviews and tests that determine your specific needs for contact lenses.

What Happens During an Eye Exam for Contact Lenses?

Beyond the initial conversation you will likely have about the options of colored contacts or rigid gas permeable lenses (an oxygen-welcoming, deposit-resistant soft lens), the rest of your time spent with the eye doctor will be consumed with a process that could be likened to trying on shoes.

As contacts lack a one-size-fits-all design, your doctor will measure the curvature of your eyes with a device referred to as a keratometer. This device uses light reflections to produce an accurate measurement of the surface of your eye in and around the cornea. This may be followed up by a more precise measurement via corneal topography, which is completed with a more modernized technique using computer imaging to produce a “map” of sorts of your eyes’ surface content.

The next step of this process involves a method a little less impressive and a little more antiquated, but necessary all the same. Your pupil size, both of the entire area and its colored portions, will be done using a grade school-esque ruler displaying a variety of pupil sizes to match up with yours. While automated methods for this part of the exam do exist, they are found to be less common and, in some cases, unnecessary.

Does It Hurt?

The most uncomfortable part of this procedure may come in the form of a test that uses a small strip of paper placed under your eyelid (while closed) to measure the natural moisturizing process of your eyes. In layman’s terms, the test is designed to determine whether you suffer from dry eyes. This is done to further understand the type of contact lens you may need, or whether contacts are right for you at all.

In the final part of your examination, you will try on pairs of contact lenses for several minutes at a time as a microscope observes the exact fit of the lenses. This is followed-up with, of course, the prescription write-up you have been awaiting.


 

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The material on this site is for informational puposes only. Have your eyes examined regularly and always follow your eye care professional's instructions for the proper use and care of your contact lenses. If you experience pain or discomfort from your contact lens, discontinue use immediately and consult your eye care professional. All discounts and promotions are applied to past purchases.
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