We are often asked at the end of an eye exam for a contact lens prescription, which is not the same as a glasses prescription. Contacts come in different materials, sizes and shapes, as well as powers. An improperly fit contact lens can lead to serious eye problems such as a corneal abrasion or even a corneal ulcer. A contact lens fitting is not usually included in an eye examination fee, due to the extra testing involved, but can be done at the time of a regular eye exam.
What is involved in a contact lens fitting? The cornea is like a window in the front part of your eye. Each individual cornea is unique, much like a fingerprint for that person. When fitting contact lenses, we take several measurements from the cornea to determine the appropriate size and the curvature of the contact lens along with the glasses prescription. Many different plastics are available in contact lenses and one is chosen to provide you with the best possible comfort and vision. A contact lens material, design, power, and shape is chosen at the time of the fitting and that contact lens is placed on the eye. The contact lens is then checked with a microscope to ensure that the lens is fitting properly and the vision is assessed. If a contact lens is not fitted correctly, or if a patient tries to wear someone else’s contact lenses, eye irritation or even a serious eye injury can occur.
The next part of the contact lens fitting involves education. You could have the perfect contacts but if you are not caring for them correctly you could still get into serious trouble. The wearing schedule and cleaning regimen need to be understood. For those new to contacts, learning how to put them in and take them out may take some time. You want to leave that appointment seeing well, understanding how to care for your contacts and realizing the warnings signs of trouble that would necessitate an immediate appointment.
We don’t want to scare you out of trying contacts! Most people do very well with them but there is a tendency to not take the fitting and care seriously. Call for an appointment if you have had problems finding the right contacts in the past, if you want to try contacts for the first time or if you want to see if your current contacts are “fit”.