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Why You Need a Contact Lens Fitting

Contact Lens Exam

If you’re thinking about trying out contact lenses, it can be confusing to know where to start. The first thing to do is to call your eye care provider to schedule an annual eye exam, making sure to mention that you want to try contacts so they will allow enough time for a contact lens fitting. At your annual eye exam, your eye doctor will look for any vision or eye health problems that could worsen with contacts.

The contact lens fitting will follow the eye exam where the doctor will determine which brand and type of lenses are best suited for you. They will also help you practice inserting and removing the lenses. For most people, a contact lens fitting will only occur once (unless you and your doctor decide down the line to change the type and brand of lens) whereas the eye exam will reoccur annually.

Eye Exam vs. Contact Lens Fitting

Eye Exam

  • Check your eyes alignment by having your eyes follow a moving target.
  • Examine how your eyes work together by covering and uncovering your eyes while they move to follow a target.
  • Observe how your pupils adjust to light and objects close in distance.
  • Have you read an eye chart to measure how well you can read from a distance.

Contact Lens Fitting

  • Measure the size and shape of your eye to determine the correct size and type of lenses.
  • Measure your tear production levels to decide if you can comfortably wear contacts.
  • Ask you lifestyle and behavioral questions to find out if contacts are a good choice for you—and if so, what kind.
  • Examine your eyes while wearing the contacts to see if it is correcting your vision and fitting well.
  • Give you trial lenses to try for a few days before finalizing the prescription.

Contact Lens Fitting Follow Up

After your contact lens fitting, your eye doctor will require a follow-up appointment to see how you’ve adjusted to your new contact lenses. Doctors will require this appointment before giving you your official prescription. They will reexamine your eye to make sure the contact has not caused any issues. Be sure to tell them if you’ve had any irritations or difficulties while wearing the contacts during the trial period. They will also have you show them how you insert and remove your contact to ensure you’re doing it safely and with ease. Once they feel confident that the contacts are working well for you, they will give you your contact lens prescription. Eye care providers in the US are required by law to provide you with a copy of your prescription, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This gives you the flexibility to purchase your contacts from a retailer of your choosing.

Why Does My Prescription Expire?

While varying from state to state, most contact lens prescriptions are valid for one year. Since your eyes change over time, doctors re-examine you yearly to ensure your prescription is still correct. They may also suggest using a different brand of contacts if you have had any complications.

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