1/3 of Canadians who haven't had their eyes checked in over 2 years said they didn't go because they didn't think anything was wrong.
This is a dangerous mindset to get into, especially if you need or wear contacts. You could develop serious eye conditions if they don't fit like a glove.
Read on to learn why you need eye exams before getting contact lenses and what they entail.
What to Expect During a Contact Lens Eye Exam
During a contact lens exam, a doctor performs tests to determine the health of your eyes and your contact lens prescription. You can try them out for a few days before your follow-up appointment.
The Comprehensive Eye Exam
Many people said they were diagnosed with an eye disease during their last exam. These included retinal disorders and glaucoma.
Those conditions aren't the only issues an optometrist can identify during a comprehensive exam. They may also spot signs of:
High blood pressure
The comprehensive exam will include questions about your eye health. The optometrist may dilate your eyes or test their fluid pressure and your vision sharpness.
The Contact Lens Exam
Contact lens exams are a bit different than traditional eye exams. They include special tests to determine if you can wear contact lenses and which ones are right for you.
One test measures the surface of your eyes. Another is called a tear film evaluation. It determines if you can produce enough tears to make the lenses comfortable.
The doctor will give you a prescription and fit the lenses to your eyes. You can also choose the right type for you. You might want disposable or reusable lenses.
The Trial and Follow-Up
Your doctor will give you a few trial pairs of contact lenses to wear for a few days. This will give you a sense of how they feel and whether they fit your eyes.
You'll have to return for a follow-up appointment after the trial period. You can ask the doctor any questions you have, and they may offer you a few eye care tips about how to use them.
Why You Need A Contact Lens Eye Exam
Regular exams help keep your prescription up to date. They also make sure your lenses fit, preventing a range of dangerous conditions.
If the lenses scratch your cornea, you could develop a corneal abrasion. Symptoms include pain, headaches, grit, red or watery eyes, and light sensitivity.
This is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. The abrasion can become infected and cause an ulcer or vision impairment.
Tight lens syndrome occurs when your lenses are too tight. Your eyes can't get enough oxygen and nutrients. It starts by being uncomfortable but can lead to corneal ulcers, infections, irritations, redness, or loss of vision.
You may even develop contact lens intolerance. They won't correct your vision anymore, and you'll have to use glasses or get laser surgery if you want to see clearly again.
Where to Get Eye Exams
Before getting your lenses, you'll need a comprehensive eye exam to spot any existing health issues and a contact lens exam to get a prescription. You can try them out for a few days, then return for a follow-up.
Getting regular exams is an important part of eye care when wearing contacts. You could develop conditions such as corneal abrasions or ulcers if they don't fit anymore.