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Contact lens exams are a little different to conventional eye tests. This is because they are carried out in addition to eye health checks and include more specialized testing which is designed to judge exactly which contact lenses you need based on your unique vision problems. They also include a contact lens fitting which will help to ensure that your chosen lenses are a good, comfortable fit and that there will be no issues with you wearing them.
While contact lenses can be worn by many patients, they are not necessarily suitable for everyone. Unlike glasses, which sit on the face, contact lenses sit over the top of the natural lens of the eye, making contact with the sensitive corneal tissues. For some patients, such as those who have allergies or other sensitivities, this contact is unpleasant or even painful. Some people have very abnormally-shaped corneas that make it difficult for contact lenses to fit properly or comfortably, while other patients may have physical or cognitive impairments that may make handling, placing, and removing contact lenses awkward or impossible. It is even possible for a patient to have such severe sight impairment that it is impossible to place such a strong prescription onto a contact lens because it would make the lens too thick.
The way in which you correct your vision is entirely your choice, and we will work with you to help you find the solution that best suits your needs. In order to do this, we offer contact lens exams to all patients interested in choosing contacts to correct their vision. These are available at our vision center in Walla Walla, WA.
Once the health of your eyes has been checked during your general eye exam and your prescription has been determined using visual acuity and refraction tests, it will be time to move onto the contact lens element of your appointment. This involves several different tests, including:
Assessment of the corneal curvature. This assessment often carried out using a piece of equipment called a keratometer, is used to measure the curvature of your cornea and front surface of the eye. This is important because our eye doctors will need to determine which type of lens will most effectively fit your eye and feel comfortable. In some instances, we may also recommend assessing the surface of your cornea in greater detail and we can do this using cutting edge mapping technology called corneal topography.
Measuring the size of your pupil/iris. There are several different ways in which your eye doctor can perform this test, including manually using a hand-held measure or using an instrument called a slit lamp. Again, this test is important for ensuring that the contact lenses provided fit properly, particularly if you are opting for a gas permeable variety.
Tear film evaluation. Patients who suffer from dry eyes may find it uncomfortable or even impossible to wear contact lenses. This is because dehydrated eyes feel itchy, irritated, and sore. Therefore, it is important for your eye doctor to check that you have sufficient tear film to keep your eyes moist and comfortable. This simple test usually involves either placing a drop of liquid dye onto your eye and then viewing your tears using a slit lamp, or by placing a special strip of paper under the lid of your eye to absorb the tears to see how much moisture is produced.
Using the information gained from these tests, we will then be able to make a recommendation as to the contact lenses that we think will work best with your eyes. You will be able to try a trial pair to check that you are happy with putting them in and removing them and to confirm the fit before we go ahead and order your custom lenses.
Once your lenses are ready, you will be invited back into our offices for our experience eye care to fit them and for us to assess their fit. Assuming all is well, you will be given the instructions you need for caring for your eyes and your lenses. A follow-up appointment may be made 6-8 weeks later to check that you are happy with everything and for us to check that your eyes are adjusting properly. If you have any issues before this time, our team would be happy to help.
If you would like more information about contact lens exams, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with our experienced and knowledgeable eye care specialists, please get in touch with our vision center in Walla Walla, WA today.