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Contact Lens Fitting Q&A with Dr. Stine

Q: What is the difference between an eye exam geared towards wearers of glasses and an eye exam geared towards wearers of contact lens?

Dr. Stine: The prescription eyeglasses exam and the contact lens eye exam include many of the same tests to provide an accurate prescription for your eyes and monitor the health of your eyes.  However, the contact lens eye exam requires further evaluation of the cornea, determining the best modality of wear for the patient, and monitoring the fit with further visits.

Q: What can be expected during a contact lens fitting?

Dr. Stine: Determination of the best possible contact lens is based on visual parameters.  Monitoring the fit of the contact lenses for comfort, vision, and corneal health.  Additionally, we train our patients on how to apply and remove contact lenses if needed.

Q: What are contact lens measurements?  How is that determined?  Does it change if a patient has astigmatism?

Dr. Stine: The basic measurements of the contact lenses are the power, base curve, and diameter for spherical soft contact lenses (what most of refer to as regular contact lenses).  Soft toric contact lenses require additional measurements, specifically, determining the cylinder and axis to correct that patient's astigmatism.  Multifocal contact lenses correct for presbyopia and need the power of the bifocal added to be determined.

Q: What kind of instruments and tests can I expect to see during a contact lens exam?

Dr. Stine: The corneal curvature is determined by a keratometer.  The contact lens power is determined by the results from the phoropter.

Q: What are trial lenses?  How can an eye doctor best determine the right contact lens prescription?

Dr. Stine: Diagnostic lenses are used to determine the best fit and power for the contact lenses.

Q: Will I know right away if the contact lenses fit or is that something that can only be felt with the passage of time?

Dr. Stine: Most contact lenses are comfortable and clear from the start, but some contact lenses require further evaluation to determine the best lens for the patient based on corneal health.

Q: Why does a contact lens exam cost more than an eyeglass eye exam?

Dr. Stine: The contact lens exam requires more time from both the doctor and staff to go through the fitting and training.

Q: What are some advantages and disadvantages of contact lenses?

Dr. Stine: Contact lenses are great for sports and other outdoor activities.  Contact lenses offer a wider peripheral vision.  The main disadvantage of contact lenses is that they require maintenance and discipline to wear them in the approved fashion. One-day disposable contact lenses are the healthiest way to wear contact lenses and help to overcome some of the disadvantages.

Q: How does an eye doctor determine which contact lens brand to recommend to a patient?  Whether to use daily contacts or reusable? 

Dr. Stine: The type of contacts are based mainly on the conversation with the patient of what their expectations are, and the expertise of the doctor to best match up the type of lens to help the patients meet their goal.

Q: Are contact lenses for everyone?

Dr. Stine: Not everyone can wear contact lenses.  However, now there are more options than ever to wear contacts.

Q: Are there special contact lenses for dry eye? Astigmatism? Corneal scarring?  

There are a few methods for people to wear contact lenses with dry eyes, including special soft contact lenses and scleral RGP contact lenses.  There are many ways to correct astigmatism with both soft and RGP contact lenses.  There are cosmetic color contacts to disguise any disfigurement of the cornea after the cornea has been scarred.

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