Contact lens examinations, like all regular eye examinations, allow your optician to take a thorough look at the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. Doing this regularly - about once a year - also lets your optician keep a close eye (if you'll pardon the pun) on any changes to your vision before they become serious symptoms.

However, if you're a contact lens wearer, it's important to make sure that your lenses fit both your eyes and your vision properly. In addition to a comprehensive eye examination, a contact lens examination will also involve a contact lens fitting.

Here's what to expect.

Routine, comprehensive eye examinations

Whether you have 20-20 vision, glasses or contact lenses, you need regular eye examinations to help keep your eyes and vision at their best. Normally, this involves:

  • Eye tests to determine your refractive error and prescription
  • Cover tests that check how well your eyes work together
  • Slit-lamp examinations that give your optician a magnified view of the structures in your eyes in order to determine their health
  • Eye pressure or ""air puff"" tests that check for glaucoma
  • Pupil dilation that gives your optician a better view of the back of your eyes

Contact lens fitting

Contact lenses are medical devices, so you need a contact lens prescription in order to buy them, and your optician is required to make sure that your vision examination for your contact lens prescription involves finding the right fit for your lenses.

A contact lens fitting involves both a consultation and measurement.

Your optician will ask you about your lifestyle and preferences. Some contact lenses may be better for athletes with active lifestyles, for instance; others may be better for frequent travellers who might need to occasionally sleep in their contact lenses. Your optician will also ask you about whether you prefer tinted contact lenses with different colours or disposable contact lenses.

Your optician will also need to gather several measurements. The most common is the curvature of your cornea, your eye's clear front surface. In some cases, your pupil and iris size will also be measured. If you tend to have dry eyes, your optician may also perform a tear film evaluation to make sure you're prescribed contact lenses that keep your eyes sufficiently moist.

Remember, your optician is your ally in making sure your eyes get what they need to stay healthy and perform at their best. Make sure you seek professional advice whenever you're encountering or making changes involving your eyes and vision.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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