You likely know that you should receive a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years, unless otherwise suggested by your doctor. But did you know that if you’re going to wear contact lenses, you’ll need a separate eye exam? It’s true! A contact lens fitting differs from your comprehensive eye exam. We’ve broken down what you can expect at each.
Comprehensive Eye Exam
Your comprehensive eye exam will cover the following areas:
- Medical history
Have you had any vision issues recently? Is there a history of vision problems in the family? Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will likely ask about your overall health, as well
- Visual acuity
To put it simply—the eye chart. The part of the eye exam most people are familiar with.
- Eye function
Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will check a variation of eye functions to ensure proper eye health. This should include pupillary reaction, side vision and eye movement.
- Retina and optic nerve
To check your retina and optic nerve, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will dilate your eyes (using a drop) so that they are able to see in the back of the eye.
Contact Lens Exam
As mentioned, your visual acuity will be determined during your comprehensive eye exam. If it is determined that you have a refractive error that can be corrected with contact lenses, you will need the contact lens fitting exam, to ensure the lens fits properly on your eye. Contact lenses are not one size fits all! What will be assessed during this exam?
- Cornea measurements
Your doctor will use a keratometer to measure the curvature of your cornea (the clear front surface of your eye). These measurements help your doctor choose the proper curve and size of your contact lenses.
- Pupil and iris measurements
Acquiring your pupil and iris measurements help your doctor choose contact lenses that will fit and rest well on your eye. The measurements can be taken with a ruler, or the advanced automated tool.
The contact lens fitting exam may require a follow-up visit or two. It’s important that you find a lens that fits properly, is comfortable and provides clear vision. Once that’s found, your doctor can write you a contact lens prescription.