We like to take a look back to ensure the content we share with our followers is relevant and useful. Here’s our 2018 revamp answering the age old question, “Why do I need a contact lens fitting?”
You’ve been wearing contacts for years, but every 2 years you need to be refit for contacts. Why? Can’t they just look at your previous prescription and renew it? Learn why it’s important to have a contact lens fitting.
A comprehensive eye exam does not include a contact lens fitting. A contact lens fitting can be done at the same visit, but not everyone is automatically fit for contacts. If you come to your eye exam wearing your contact lenses they will be evaluated before the exam by the doctor. Many different factors are involved in fitting contact lenses.
First, the prescription may have changed.
In this case, you would need updated powers for your contact lenses. Contact lens prescriptions are not the same as glasses prescriptions.
Second, the contact lens has to fit just right.
An instrument called a keratometer is used to measure the curvature of your cornea (front surface of the eye where the contact sits). Sometimes we need to map out the entire cornea with a device called a topographer. The size of the lens is based on how curved the cornea is. Usually eye doctors prefer to assess the fit of the lens after you’ve worn it for a few hours. Most contacts look and feel great when they are first inserted, but after a few hours of wear can be very different. That is why in most cases a follow up contact lens check is important. This is usually scheduled a week or two after your fitting.
Third, the lens has to fit your lifestyle.
What are you planning on using your contacts for? Will you be using them every day? Do you only use them only for special occasions? Contacts come in daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, and annual replacement schedules. Depending on your wearing schedule and eye health, we will suggest one that will be the healthiest and most cost effective.
Fourth, we want to fit you with a contact lens that will be comfortable.
We may find a lens that fits well, but if it’s not comfortable to wear, we need to try something different. Lens material can play a big role in the comfort of contact lenses. We won’t always know what material will be the most comfortable for you until we try.
Lastly, any previous or current eye problems will affect the lens choice.
Some patients have dry eyes or allergies and may do better with more frequent lens replacement. Patients with corneal scars, dystrophies, or irregular surfaces may need to be fit with a specialty lens.
During your contact lens evaluation, we will go over the different options with you. We may even have some suggestions you hadn’t thought of. What about patients that wear bifocals or use cheaters? Maybe you’ve been using cheaters all this time and didn’t realize there were multifocal contact lens options available. Monovision is another option for those needing help seeing up close. With monovision, one eye wears a contact for distance vision; the other eye wears one for near. Some patients may function even better with a contact lens in one eye only.
There are many factors involved in choosing the best contact lens for each patient, and things can change in as little as a few months. What if your contact lens prescription hasn’t changed? Well, then your current contact lenses will be evaluated on your eyes to ensure they still fit well and are not causing any eye damage.