Contact lens fitting is a necessary requirement for getting a contact lens prescription. It takes additional steps not included in regular eye examination. If you are interested in wearing contact lenses you need to reserve enough time at your eye doctor’s office. Also, when you schedule your appointment, make sure the doctor know that you need fitting contact lenses, in addition to a regular eye exam.
Before you can be fitted for contact lenses, your eye doctor will question you about your general health, and about your eyes. He or she will ask about your goal in wearing contact lenses. See better close up? See better far away? Based on your answers the eye doctor will then proceed with the required eye examination.
The actual eye exam consists of a series of tests to determine your eye health and your current vision. The eye doctor will test your eyes for: general vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, eye pressure and so on. At the end of this exam, the doctor may write a prescription for glasses.
An eye examination is necessary. The eye exam is critical for assuring your eyes’ health and ruling out the possibility of any condition that will prevent contact lens use.
Contact Lens Fitting
The objective of contact lens fitting is to find the right contact lenses that will fit your eyes properly. To do this, your eye care professional will need to measure the curvature of front surface of your eye with a keratometer instrument. A more comprehensive measurement may include computerized measurements to let your eye doctor see the curve of the entire surface of your eyes.
Another procedure may include an evaluation of the tear film of your eyes. If you have dry eye syndrome you may need a certain type of contact lenses. Since dry eyes are common among presbyopes the eye doctor can prescribe contact lenses that answer the eye conditions.
The eye doctor may also examine your cornea health with a slit lamp instrument. This evaluation is to make sure there are no problems that prevent you from wearing contact lenses.
If you’re a contact lens candidate, the eye doctor will then select the right lens material and design. Selected trial or free contact lenses are inserted to your eyes to see how well they fit. It takes several minutes before you feel comfortable and get a good vision.
If you’re a first time wearer, the eye doctor may train you to insert, remove and care for your lenses. You usually are given a written instruction on handling and caring your lenses.
Fitting Bifocal and Multifocal Contacts
Bifocal contact lens fitting is similar but more time consuming, and therefore more expensive, than other types of contact lens fitting. Fitting bifocal contact lenses require some trial-and-error approach because lenses fit and any distance vision all must be considered.
As with other types of contact lens fitting your eye doctor may ask you about your vision objective, and your occupation or main activities. The following list is available options for presbyopes.
- Wearing reading glasses over your current contact lenses to help focus near objects.
- Monovision is another option that suits you if you have a 1.50 to 1.75 bifocal add. Here one contact lens corrects one eye to see well far away while another lens corrects the other eye to see well up-close. If you don’t have myopia you may only need one lens on your non-dominant eye for near vision correction.
- Bifocal Contact lenses are the best lenses if you have a distance spherical power of 1.00 or greater. Bifocal contact lenses are available both in soft lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses. Within these groups there are three basic designs: alternating or translating, simultaneous and concentric.
So, you may want to prepare for several appointments for fitting bifocal contacts. But your time and effort are worthwhile for a better vision and your overall satisfaction.
Follow-up Eye Exams
Once you’ve been fitted with the initial trial lenses you need to return to the office of your eye doctor for follow-up visits. If the initial lenses continue to fit well, and cause no adverse effects to the cornea, it means you get the right type of contact lenses. Or, you may be fitted with another type of contacts until you satisfy with the level of comfort and vision quality.
Once you get satisfactory vision quality and comfort — usually about 3 or 4 office visits — your eye doctor will write a final contact lens prescription. It includes contact lens power, contact lens base curve and diameter.
Now you’re ready to buy contact lenses with the prescription. If you decide not to buy contact lenses from your eye doctor, be aware that you still need to visit your eye care practitioner at least once a year. You may also want to visit the eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision for another contact lens fitting or re-fitting.