How Is a Contact Lens Exam Different From a Regular Eye Exam?

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should see an eye doctor at least once a year for an eye exam. The eye doctor checks the quality of your vision as well as the general health of your eyes during these visits. Regular eye exams are not enough for people who wear contact lenses.


Do you know that a regular eye exam is different from a contact lens exam? Understanding the difference between a contact lens exam and a regular eye exam will save you time and money.


A Regular Eye Exam


Everyone needs to get a regular eye exam whether they need vision correction or not. This exam is important because it does not involve just the health of your eyes. During exams, an eye doctor can check for signs of any underlying medical problems that you may not be aware of, like diabetes and hypertension.


Basically, a regular eye exam involves a few steps. The first step involves talking about any eye problems you may have experienced. The doctor will also check your medical history to check if you have previous eye conditions. Next, your vision sharpness is assessed. Additional assessments are done to look for subtle signs of eye disease even before symptoms show up. Other tests done include:


  • Refraction: Done to determine your exact eyeglass prescription

  • Retinoscopy: Performed to obtain an approximate prescription of your eyeglasses

  • Slit-lamp exam: This exam involves checking the structures of your eyes under magnification

  • Ocular motility: Checks the movement of your eyes

  • Glaucoma and color blindness tests

To determine if you have any other medical issues, your eye doctor will dilate your eyes to check your eye pressure. 


A Contact Lens Exam


A contact lens exam is different from a regular eye exam because lenses are classified as medical devices. Whether you wear or want to wear contact lenses, it is mandatory to get a contact lens in addition to a regular eye exam. During a contact lens exam, your eye doctor will spend more time measuring and evaluating your cornea to determine the curve of your contact lenses. Measurements of your iris and pupil are also taken to ensure you get contacts that fit. 


Finally, the eye doctor performs a tear film evaluation to make sure your eyes are producing enough tears to keep your eyes moist. Moisture helps hold contact lenses into place. If your eyes are completely dry, your eye doctor may prescribe special lenses with moisture technology or advice you to avoid wearing contacts at all. 


After the exam, your doctor will give you trial contacts. You have to wear these lenses for a short while to help the doctor determine if they are a good fit. Your exam is not over until you go for a follow-up exam. The eye doctor will check if you are comfortable wearing your lenses and make sure you have adjusted to them. 


If you wear glasses and want to switch to contact lenses, talk to your eye doctor first. Let your doctor know during your regular eye exam so that he can perform a contact lens exam on the same day to save time.


To learn more about how a contact lens exam is different from a regular eye exam, contact Dr. Obermark Eye Health Care at our offices in Poplar Bluff or Sikeston, Missouri. You can call (573) 435-3400 or (573) 444-5200, respectively, today to schedule an appointment.

For after-hour emergencies, you can call (573) 620-2020.

Call Us Today

Poplar Bluff:
(573) 435-3400
(573) 444-5200
5734445200 5736202020 1250 North Main Street,
Sikeston, MO 63801