Want to wear contacts, but aren’t sure where to start? Or do you already wear contact lenses and have questions? Here, we cover all the basics of contact lenses and prescriptions. 

Who are the best candidates for contact lenses? Is there anyone who shouldn’t wear contacts?

Dr. Chad A. Carlsson of Carlsson Family Eye Center says one of the best things about contacts is that most patients are eligible to wear them. “Technology has come a long way, and we now have the tools and contact lenses to fit some of the most challenging patients.” 

There are some people who should be more cautious about wearing contacts, whether for medical or environmental reasons. For instance, those with certain diseases or autoimmune disorders can find contacts difficult or uncomfortable to wear. Likewise, contacts can be troublesome if you have dry eye or work in a dirty or dusty environment, or if you’ve had any serious trauma to the eye. 

However, for the vast majority of people, contacts can be a convenient, comfortable way to correct vision problems, and Dr. Carlsson is one optometrist who specializes in helping people find the best contacts for them. 

What’s the difference between an eye exam and a contact lens exam? 

A comprehensive eye exam isn’t the same thing as getting a contact lens fitting, but you can usually get both completed during the same visit to your eye doctor. 

A comprehensive eye exam looks not only at your eye health, but provides a window into your overall health. In addition to checking your vision, your eye doctor may be able to recognize the signs of serious health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. 

A contact lens exam, on the other hand, measures your eye surface to identify the correct sizes and types of contacts for your eyes. 

How are eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions different? 

Contact lenses are placed directly on the surface of the eye, while eyeglasses sit about 12 millimeters away from your eye. So while both contacts and glasses correct certain problems with your vision (such as nearsightedness), the prescriptive power of contacts and glasses will be different. Determining the prescription for each requires two different sets of measurements and tests. 

What kind of doctor do I need to visit? 

An optometrist, or doctor of optometry, is a specialist in providing primary vision care, and is your first stop in taking care of your eye health, including fitting you for a contact lens prescription. Opthamologists also specialize in eye and vision care, and are licensed to perform surgery. 

How frequently should I get my contact lens prescription checked? 

Dr. Carlsson recommends having your prescription checked every year. This can be done as part of your routine eye exam, which you should schedule annually. 

What are the signs that I might need an adjusted prescription?

Even if it hasn’t been a year since your last exam, seek an appointment with your eye doctor if you experience any of the following: 

  • Blurred or acute vision changes
  • Frequent headaches or pressure behind the eye
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Eye fatigue, strain or and/or diplopia
  • Acute Flashes or Floaters in one’s vision

How much does a contact lens fitting cost, and is it covered by insurance?

Because of the additional tests, measurements, steps and time required, there is an additional fee for a contact lens fitting. Your health and vision insurance may cover part of the cost of the  fitting, so talk to your doctor/staff or call your plan provider prior to your appointment to find out exactly what is covered. 

Want to learn more about contact lenses and which type might be right for you? Let us help! Contact Carlsson Family Eye Center to schedule an appointment today.