If you've decided to get contact lenses, or if you're thinking about switching from glasses to contacts, you might wonder what happens during a contact lens eye exam. At your appointment, you'll be properly fitted for your contact lenses, and you'll also learn how to care for them so you can safely and confidently wear contact lenses whenever you choose to do so.
When you go to your appointment, bring your glasses and any other items the Clarkson Eyecare doctor’s office has asked you to provide. Once you begin the appointment, your optometrist will examine your eyes to make sure you're able to wear contacts. Luckily, there's a good chance that you'll be able to; about 90% of people who want to wear contact lenses can. This includes people with dry eyes or astigmatism — a common condition caused by an irregular curve in the cornea that leads to blurry vision.
The doctor will then take additional eye measurements to ensure your contact lenses will fit properly. They'll measure and document the surface of your eyes' corneas, including their curvature and any potential astigmatism. This information is important because contact lenses are placed directly on the corneal surface. Nothing touches your eyes during this part of the exam. The tools only measure the light that reflects off your eyes. Your doctor will also record the size of your pupils and irises to be sure that you're fitted with the right-sized contacts. Then, they'll analyze the tear layer of your eyes to make sure that your eyes aren't too dry.
At Clarkson Eyecare, our optometrists consider all these details to determine which brand of lenses is most appropriate for you. They also use this information to determine your contact lens prescription strength.
Once the eye examination is over, your doctor may have trial contact lenses in the office for you to try on for comfort and clarity. As you're wearing your contact lenses, the doctor will typically examine them with a tool known as a slit lamp microscope. This allows them to view the structures at the front of your eyes in great detail along with your contact lenses to see if they fit well.
You can expect to leave your appointment with a small set of contact lenses to try for several days (most brands and prescriptions are available in most Clarkson Eyecare offices), along with information about why these lenses are right for you. Your doctor will also ask you for feedback on how the lenses feel while you're wearing them, so be candid if anything feels off or uncomfortable. Your eye doctor and optical care team at Clarkson Eyecare will also work with you to be sure you're comfortable with the following:
Safely putting in your contact lenses and taking them out
Cleaning and proper care
Identifying problems, such as small tears or rips in your contacts
Keeping your eyes from drying out
If you have any questions during or after the exam, be sure to ask your doctor or contact your Clarkson Eyecare office.
After your initial visit, you should wear your trial lenses over the next 1-2 weeks to evaluate their fit and comfort. You will then be scheduled for what is commonly known as a contact lens fitting follow-up visit, a brief visit with your eye doctor to discuss how the prescribed lenses are working for you. With the help of the slit lamp microscope, your doctor will carefully examine your eyes while you're wearing the contact lenses to ensure they fit properly. They may also place eye drops containing dye in your eyes to help detect any subtle damage on the corneal surfaces caused by the contacts.
Next, your doctor will check your vision while you're wearing your contact lenses to make sure they're serving you well. Your eye doctor may also examine your eyes one more time once you've removed the contacts to check for any issues. You may be asked to return for another follow-up visit — just to ensure that your contact lenses fit properly and feel comfortable when you wear them for long periods. Find out beforehand if you should arrive at the follow-up wearing your contacts; your doctor may want to assess how they fit after you've had them in your eyes for a while.
After your follow-up appointment, you should feel confident about the fit of your contacts. But your contact lens fitting does extend for a period of 90 days post-exam, so if you experience any discomfort or have any questions, simply schedule another fitting with your eye doctor to address any concerns. When specialty contacts are recommended, the doctors at Clarkson Eyecare will work with you to provide the best solution.
Find a Clarkson Eyecare office near you and schedule a contact lens exam with our eye care professionals today.