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Do I Need an Eye Test for Contact Lenses?

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A close up of a woman holding her finger up to her eye with a contact lens resting on the tip ready to place it on her eye

Make no mistake: We love eyeglasses at West Coast Optical. We stock our optical boutique with all the latest trends in frames and lenses, and rock the most fashionable specs in town. However, we completely understand why our clients would consider switching to contact lenses. 

Over the last decade, there have been significant advancements in contact lens technology, and even patients with more extensive prescriptions can benefit from a frame-less lifestyle. If you’re interested in trying contact lenses, there’s no time like the present! 

If you’re thinking about getting contact lenses, you’ll need a contact lens exam

An eye care professional can provide you with a specialized consultation specific to your particular visual needs, and help you find the perfect-fitting lens. 

Why Do I Need a Contact Lens Exam?

When was your last eye exam? If you can’t remember, it’s probably a good idea to book one! Eye health can change quickly, and routine eye exams are an essential part of keeping your eyes bright and happy. 

But remember, your routine eye exam is different from a contact lens exam, and contact lenses involve a slightly different prescription to account for the lens sitting directly on the surface of your eye

At a contact lens exam, your optometrist provides you with an updated contact lens prescription, and advises of any developing eye diseases or conditions that could affect your comfort while wearing contact lenses.

Contact lens prescriptions are typically valid for a year; when your prescription expires, you’ll need to meet with your optometrist for an eye exam before purchasing new lenses. 

At West Coast Optical, we recommend our patients have a yearly eye exam. If you’re considering contact lenses, you should definitely come in and see us, even if you’ve visited more recently.

Can I Use My Eyeglass Prescription For Contact Lenses?

The short answer to this question is no. It’s not recommended to use an eyeglass prescription for contact lenses. Some people attempt to use their eyeglass prescriptions for purchasing contact lenses online, which often results in discomfort, and vision being under or over-corrected.

As previously mentioned, contact lens prescriptions are different because the lens sits on the eye’s surface, whereas eyeglasses sit a few millimetres away.

Glasses and contact lens prescriptions both provide the amount of correction each eye requires to see clearly, but contact lens prescriptions offer additional information and specifics. 

A woman at her optometrist getting a contact lens exam, her chin resting on a slit lamp

Your Contact Lens Exam 

It’s essential to note that a contact lens exam lasts longer than a routine eye exam. Your optometrist requires additional time to take measurements, discuss what you’re looking for in a lens, and determine if any lifestyle factors will affect your enjoyment of wearing contacts.

Your overall eye health is considered when determining the right lens for your vision, and your optometrist may make a few slight adjustments to your prescription to accommodate contact lenses. 

Specialty Contact Lenses 

Not everyone’s prescription works with standard contact lenses, but don’t give up yet! Specialty lenses are available for more complicated prescriptions and conditions, like: 

If you have a more specialized prescription and wonder if contact lenses are an option, reach out to your optometrist for a contact lens exam. They’re able to determine if going frame-free is a viable option for your vision. 

The Contact Lens Fitting & Trial

Fittings help your optometrist decide which shapes, materials, and brands work best for your vision. Many lens types are available with varying degrees of rigidity and moisture content.

Your optometrist will find a few options that work with your eye shape and measurements, and fit your eyes with these various lens styles. Once they’ve found the right fit, you’ll head home with a trial pair of contact lenses. 

You may not fall in love with your first pair, and that’s okay! Your eye care team can trial and error a few types of lenses to find the right style and brand for your eyes. You can expect a transition period with regular check-ups to ensure your eyes are healthy and happy in their new lenses. 

If you have never worn contact lenses before, no problem. At West Coast Optical, licensed contact lens fitters show you how to insert and remove contact lenses. This appointment will be on a different day after your eye exam.

Caring For Contact Lenses

Before you bring home your new lenses, your optometrist will provide:

  • Thorough maintenance instructions.
  • Ways to improve the longevity of your lenses. 
  • Some tips about best hygiene practices.

Your eye care team is readily available if you need clarification on specific maintenance steps, and if you experience any issues or discomfort.

Let’s Get You Started

Book a contact lens exam with West Coast Optical if you’re interested in contact lenses. Our experienced team will determine if contact lenses work with your prescription and visual health, and figure out if they’re a good solution for your lifestyle and eyesight. We want our patient’s eyes to be happy, and their vision clear. You’re in excellent hands with our knowledgeable and friendly staff! Call today with any questions about contact lenses.

Written by West Coast Optical

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