When you have eye problems which require you to wear eyeglasses like astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness, contact lenses may also be a viable option for you, depending on what your eye doctor tells you. In fact, a number of people choose contact lenses because they find that eyeglasses are unwieldy or perhaps they just don’t like the way glasses look on their faces.
Now if you’re similarly interested in getting fitted for contacts, know that you can’t just go and get a pair if you’ve only had an eye exam for eyeglasses. Eye examinations for contact lenses are another thing altogether and there are certain things you should know before you even consider getting them. Here’s our handy guide to transitioning to contacts:
Prepare for your visit to the eye doctor – If you already have a pair of prescription eyeglasses, make sure to bring them during your appointment with your eye care professional. Also, since your doctor is going to check your eyes thoroughly, make it easier for him or her by not wearing any eye make-up. Eye shadow and mascara may cover up some parts of your eye and make it harder for your doctor to see what he or she needs.
Expect a review of your medical history and lifestyle – Your doctor won’t prescribe just any pair of contacts without an interview. In order for your eye care professional to know what type you should wear, you’ll need to answer some general questions about your history of eye problems; your preference for contact lens colors and for how long you can wear the contacts; or if you want rigid gas permeable or soft lens types.
You’ll need to get your corneas, pupils, and irises measured –This is a necessary step because you’ll want to get contact lenses that fit you perfectly, otherwise you may end up hurting your eyes. Your doctor may also need to see how your eyes’ surfaces are shaped because if they’re irregularly-shaped due to astigmatism, your eye care professional may prescribe a special lenses called toric contact lenses which provide sharper images by counteracting the irregularities in your eyes’ shape.
You’ll have to go back to your eye doctor annually – Even after you’ve found a pair that might fit you, your doctor may need you to come in for a few follow-ups to make sure that your lenses work perfectly and that they aren’t damaging your eyes. Once you’ve finally determined the correct lens for your eyes, you’ll only need to go back to get a your contact lens prescription filled and to have an annual check up so that you’re sure your eyes (and lenses) are in tip-top shape.
Contact lenses need care! – One last thing before you go: remember that you’ll need to be slightly more careful with contact lenses than you are with conventional eyeglasses which are more or less wipe, wear and go. Keep your hands clean when handling your contact lenses and make sure you follow the proper care instructions from your eye care professional and on the contact lens solution bottle. Less-than-hygienic handling of contact lenses may only exacerbate any eye problems you already have.
That doesn’t seem too difficult does it? But, if you still have some apprehensions about switching to contact lenses, you can always ask your optometrist for advice before making your decision. If you’re from the Greenacres, Florida area or from nearby Lantana, Royal Palm Springs, or West Palm Beach, you can consult Dr. Hetel Bhakta of Planet Vision Eyecare.
Dr. Bhakta is a board-certified optometric physician with years of experience fitting and prescribing patients with traditional contact lenses, specialty hard-to-fit contacts or eyeglasses, and she can definitely help you figure out the best solution for your eye problems.