Although more people with refractive eye problems choose to wear glasses than contact lenses, the number of people who are opting for contacts either instead of or in addition to glasses is growing. Glasses require people to make a range of compromises, from the way that they look to some of the activities they take part in – for example, you can’t wear glasses while participating in contact sports. Fortunately, contact lenses give the wearer much greater freedoms and convenience to enjoy their lives.
If you have decided that you would prefer to wear contact lenses over glasses, you’ll need to have a separate appointment which is known as a contact lens exam. This is nothing to worry about, but it can help to put your mind at rest to know what to expect. Here are some of the key elements of a contact lens exam.
The cornea is the clear, domed lens that covers the front part of the eye and is responsible for refracting the light that enters the eye. Your contact lenses will cover the cornea, and so it is important that there are no issues with its surface that could prevent them from fitting properly or working as they should. For this reason, one of the most important things that your eye doctor will do during your contact lens exam is to evaluate the surface of the cornea for any abnormalities. They will also measure the curve of the cornea to determine which type of contact lenses might be the most suitable. This evaluation is done either using a manual instrument called a keratometer, or a scan of your eye called corneal topography. Both are completely painless.
Your eye doctor will also need to check the position of your pupils and how far they are away from the whites of your eyes. This will help to ensure that your new contact lenses sit in a central position on the eye, where they will be most comfortable and provide the best possible vision. Pupil measurements will either be taken using a handheld ruler or a piece of equipment called a slit lamp.
For contact lenses to be comfortable, they have to sit on a very thin layer of tear film. This lubricating substance is made up of oils, water, and protein and enables the contact lenses to move around with your eyes when required so that you can look clearly at different objects. If you don’t have enough natural tear film, putting contact lenses into your eyes, taking them out, and wearing them can be difficult and uncomfortable. If you don’t have a good supply of natural tear film, you may need to have a specific type of specialty contact lens.
Your eye doctor will be able to use the information obtained from your tests to find out which contact lenses might be most suited to you. You’ll be given some to try so that you and your eye doctor can see how they fit and feel. If they are suitable, they will be ordered in your prescription ready for you to collect a short while later.
If you have any questions about what to expect during a contact lens exam, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our experienced eyecare team. Call Village Optical at our office in New Hyde Park, New York at 516-990-2316 today.