What is a Contact Lens Exam?
A contact lens exam is essentially when your optometrist assesses the performance of your contacts, your experience with you contacts and the physical fit of your contacts in order to give you an up to date prescription for contact lenses.
What is Involved in a Contact Lens Exam?
A contact lens exam can happen on its own, or as part of your routine comprehensive eye exam.
You will be asked to read letters from an eye chart to give your eye doctor an idea of how well your contacts are preforming.
Your eye doctor will measure your prescription for glasses, then convert the numbers into a prescription for contact lenses (if necessary, sometimes they are the same).
Check of the Fit
Your eye doctor will examine how the contact lens center themselves on your eyes, as well as how tight/loose they are in order to determine whether or not the fit is appropriate.
Your eye doctor will want to examine the health of your eyes under a microscope to make sure that your contact lenses have not been causing damage to your eyes. This step can involve the application of a dye called fluorescein onto the surface of your eyes in order to help your doctor visualize and changes caused by the contact lenses.
After all the verification and measurements have been taken, your eye doctor will use that information to prescribe you a brand of contact lenses, along with all the essential prescription parameters.
Your doctor will also discuss with you the most appropriate contact lens cleaning solution based on the specifics of your case.
What is a Contact Lens Fitting?
A contact lens fitting is the process by which someone who is completely new to contact lenses is safely put into contacts lenses through the help of their optometrist and his/her support staff. A contact lens fitting has many different parts to it, and usually consists of several visits with your eye doctor.
What is involved in a contact lens fitting?
The first part of being fitted into contact lenses is learning a thing or two about them. Optometrists will usually talk to you about contacts lenses and what you can expect from them before he/she attempts to put you in them.
Typically, your optometrist will be the one to insert the lenses into your eyes for the very first time. Depending on your comfort level with things touching your eyes, this make require a few attempts.
Contact Lens Exam
Once the contact lenses have been inserted, your eye doctor will perform actions similar to the Contact Lens Exam process described above. They will assess your vision with the contacts and look at the fit of the contacts on your eyes.
At this point, if something doesn’t look right, your optometrist will adjust the parameters of the contact lenses and try again. A contact lens fitting is not always an exact science. Some trial and error is often necessary.
Before you optometrist can let you go home with contact lenses, you have to be able to demonstrate that you can insert and remove contact lenses on your own. During a contact lens fitting, you will usually sit down with one of your optometrist’s assistant and receive one-on-one training on inserting and removing contact lenses.
You should also be trained on certain rules of wearing contact lenses. Your optometrist’s assistant will give you a list of do’s and do not’s of contact lens wear.
All of the above typically happens on the same day, but that’s not the end of the process.
Follow Up Visits
After trying your contact lenses out at home, school or work for a week or two, your optometrist will see you back to perform another contact lens exam to ensure that everything is going well with your contacts.
If everything looks good at your follow up visit, you will be given your contact lens prescription. If something doesn’t look or feel right, then you may be sent home with a different pair of trials and ask to come back for yet another follow up.
Depending of the complexity of your case, 3 or more follow ups may be necessary. For simpler cases, 1 is usually enough.
As you may have guessed, the cost of a contact lens exam is not free (i.e., it is not usually part of your regular eye exam).
If you want a contact lens prescription at the end of the day, you will have to pay for a contact lens exam.
How much a contact lens exam costs depends entirely on how much your optometrist decides to charge for it.
In general you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 – $100 for a contact lens exam.
Possibly more if you eye doctor is so inclined.
How Much Does a Contact Lens Fitting Cost?
A contact lens fitting is considerably more expensive than a simple contact exam because of how much more work is involved on the part of your optometrist.
Depending on how complicated he/she thinks the process might take, a contact lens fitting may cost you anywhere from $50 to $300.
How much did your contact lens exam cost? Please share you experience in the comments below.