Contact lenses remain the most popular alternative to glasses for patients who need to use prescription eyewear to see clearly. Offering greater flexibility and versatility, more varieties to choose from and being more affordable than ever before, it is easy to see why. If you are considering contact lenses, you will need to have a specific exam to determine your prescription, as the strength of contact lenses is very different from those lenses that go in glasses. You will also need to have a contact lens fitting. A contact lens fitting is an essential element of any contact lens exam. Unlike prescription lenses in glasses, contact lenses sit directly onto the surface of the cornea and float on a thin layer of the tear film.
If it’s your first time getting contact lenses, the fitting process may seem a little intimidating. However, it really is a simple and painless process that is necessary to ensure that you get both the right type of contacts and ones that fit you perfectly and enable you to wear them without compromise or disruption.
Many people feel reassured if they know what to expect from an appointment, so here’s what you need to know about the process of a contact lens fitting.
With so many different types of contact lens to choose from, the first thing that your eye doctor will need to do is to determine which lenses will be most suitable for you. The best way to do this is by asking you about your lifestyle – for example, any sports you play or activities that you participate in. You may also be asked about whether you have any allergies as these can affect your eyes too.
You will be able to select how often you wish to change your contact lenses. Long gone are the days where you have to soak your lenses in solution every night, although extended wear lenses are still preferred by many patients. You can also choose from daily disposables which some patients find more convenient.
Other choices you will have to make will include rigid gas permeable lenses or soft lenses. Rigid lenses tend to be recommended for patients with corneal abnormalities since they help the cornea to hold a more natural shape. However, the merits of both types will be discussed with you by your eye doctor.
Our eyes come in all different shapes and sizes, and there is no single contact lens that fits all. If the curve of your cornea is too steep or too flat, it could mean that your contact lenses don’t fit comfortably or could even come out or cause damage to your eye.
Your eye doctor will take measurements of your eyes to determine which lenses will be the best fit. The exact way in which this is done can vary, with some eye doctors using handheld equipment, such as a keratometer, to measure the cornea’s curve. Others use laser technology to create a detailed map of the surface of your eye so that the corneal shape can be identified.
In order to be able to wear contact lenses, you must have sufficient healthy tear film present on your eyes. This helps to keep your lenses hydrated and ensures that they remain comfortable on your eyes and do not cause dryness, stiffness or other irritation. Tear film evaluation is a simple, painless process that uses tiny pieces of paper placed on your lower eyelid to monitor how much tear film is made.
In most cases, you will be given trial lenses to try to ensure that they are the right choice for you. These won’t have your prescription but will simply be used to check the placement of the lens and how well it fits on your eye. You will be asked to blink and move your eyes around to ensure that the lenses work correctly with the movements and that they are comfortable for you to wear. If your eye doctor is happy with this, your actual contact lenses can be ordered. When they arrive, they will be checked with you again before you take them home.
If you would like more information about contact lens fittings, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices and speak to our experienced team in St. Marys, OH.