Do I Need an Exam to Get Contact Lenses?

If you are interested in getting contact lenses, you will need to undergo a contact lens exam in addition to your typical comprehensive eye exam. Even if you've already had a fitting for glasses, you will still need an individual contact lens exam, as the prescriptions are not the same.


A comprehensive eye exam will examine your eyes for signs of refractive errors, glaucoma, and other serious health issues like diabetes and hypertension. Your eye doctor will perform this exam along with a contact lens exam to ensure that you are getting the appropriate treatment for your eyes.


What Happens During a Contact Lens Exam?


A contact lens exam involves a series of special tests that assess how well you see with contact lenses.


Visual Testing


This is the first part of the exam that involves reading some numbers and letters. The results from the visual test determine the type of vision correction you need and how strong your eyesight should be.


Tear Film Test


Your eye doctor may also examine your tear film to ensure that you have adequate tears to use contact lenses comfortably. If you do not produce enough tears, you could be having dry eye syndrome. In this case, your eye doctor will recommend special contact lenses that are fit for people with dry eyes.


Contact Lens Fitting


Apart from testing your eyesight, your eye doctor needs to make sure that your contact lenses will fit your eyes perfectly. As such, he or she will do a couple of scans and tests to determine the curve and size of your eyes. While a one-size-fits-all may work for some patients, most people need some contact lens adjustments.


The results from the contact lens exam will determine your suitability for contact lenses, providing a prescription that will suit your vision needs. Once you get the right fit and prescription for your eyes, you will choose whether you want disposable or non-disposable contacts. You will also decide whether you want colored contact lenses.


How to Prepare for a Contact Lens Exam


Before your contact lens exam, there are several things you should do to prepare. These include:


  • Write a list of all prescription and non-prescription medicines you take and the dosage. This will help your ophthalmologist determine any eye health risks you might have

  • Bring any eyewear you may be using, including prescription glasses, non-prescription sunglasses, readers, or contact lenses if you have them

  • Present your copy of your eye insurance card and other health insurance cards you have

  • Create a list of all the queries or concerns you might have about your vision to discuss with your ophthalmologist


If you think contact lenses are the right solution for you, talk to your ophthalmologist. That said, you need to visit your eye doctor every year for an exam if you wear contact lenses.


For more on whether you need an exam to get contact lenses, contact Houston Dry Eye Clinic at our office in Houston, Texas. You can call (713) 664-4760 to book an appointment today.