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Do I Need an Eye Exam for Contact Lenses?

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A woman using her left fingers to pull her eyelid down while she puts a contact lens on her right eye with her right hand

Good vision is not just essential for reading and work but also for the activities you enjoy doing. Whether playing sports, watching a movie, or spending time with loved ones, clear sight is essential. And if you rely on contact lenses to achieve that clarity, you may wonder if an eye exam is necessary.

Annual eye exams are crucial when you wear contact lenses. If you’re trying contacts for the first time, getting a comprehensive eye exam before your contact lens fitting helps you get the proper prescription. To update your prescription and support your eye health, visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam.

Why You Need an Eye Exam First

Starting with an eye exam before getting your contacts benefits your vision and eyes’ well-being.

It Detects Any Underlying Eye Problems

Detecting serious eye issues before prescribing contacts can keep your eyes more comfortable. Tests in an eye exam can include checking for eye diseases, such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration

An eye exam can discover refractive errors, such as astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness, that make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable or inefficient.

It Determines the Ideal Lens Type for You

Each pair of contact lenses is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on your lifestyle or the condition of your eyes, you may prefer to wear a specific type of contact lens.

You may require specialty contact lenses or specific wear schedules based on your eye conditions.

It Keeps Your Prescription Current

Individuals who use contact lenses must have an updated prescription annually or as their eye doctor recommends. It keeps the prescription meaningful and helps the lenses’ quality fit your eyes. An outdated prescription or wrong strength can cause discomfort symptoms and affect your eyes’ health, such as:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye fatigue

It Provides Proper Care Instructions

Taking good care of your contact lenses is essential to prevent complications, including infections.

An eye exam appointment is the perfect opportunity for doctors to give users proper care and hygiene instructions. They train you on the best practices for wearing contact lenses. Learning how to store lenses and use eye drops safely is also important.

What Measurements Are Taken in a Contact Lens Exam?

It is essential to have regular eye exams to maintain good eye health and determine the right prescription for your eyeglasses or contact lenses. But contact lens exams and fittings are equally crucial to your eye health while wearing contact lenses.

If you are considering getting contact lenses, you need to have a contact lens exam to measure specific parameters of your eyes that affect contact lens wear.

Corneal Measurement

Corneal measurement is one of the essential measurements taken in a contact lens exam. It tells your eye doctor how flat or steep your cornea is. This measurement is crucial for contact lens fitting as it helps them prescribe the right size and type of contact lens.

Pupil Size

Pupil size is an important factor to consider when being evaluated for contact lenses. Your pupil size will determine the diameter and fitting of contact lenses. Eye doctors will also investigate blinking, eye position, and movement patterns to determine the right contact lenses for you.

Tear Film Evaluation

Evaluating your tear film quality is another assessment that eye doctors take during a contact lens exam. The quality of your tears can affect how contact lenses interact with your eyes and the extended wearing time.

If your tear film indicates you have dry eye, your optometrist may recommend specialty lenses to keep your eyes hydrated.

Comparative Lens Fitting

During the contact lens exam, your eye doctor will also conduct a comparative lens fitting trial to test different contact lenses’ fitting and comfort. They’ll send you home with a few trial pairs of lenses to wear throughout your day or weeks to determine how they feel and correct your vision.

This trial helps determine which contact lenses would ideally fit your eyes’ shape and provide comfort.

Close-up of a woman undergoing a slit-lamp exam

Schedule Your Eye Exam & Updated Contact Lens Fitting

Whether you wear contact lenses as a necessity or for fashion purposes, it’s essential to go to baseline eye exams to protect your eyes and vision. Your eyesight is precious, and annual eye exams are key to keeping your eyes healthy and free from the severe effects of wearing contact lenses.When considering switching to a specific brand, you should also look into a visit to discuss these changes with your eye doctor. Book an appointment at Milton Eye and Vision Care and start wearing contact lenses that don’t compromise your vision over time. You deserve comfortable, sharp vision when wearing your contact lenses.

Written by Dr. Ronald Nicholas Strohan

Dr. Strohan has been an integrative optometrist in the Milton, Ontario area for over 40 years and has always stayed true to his philosophy of focusing on excellent patient eye care. He has studied behavioural optometry for more than 4 decades and is passionate about providing clear vision for patients of all ages. He takes pride in offering the latest eye care products and advancements in vision therapy.
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