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Why You Need A Contact Lens Fitting

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an eye doctor demonstrates a contact lens to a patient at a contact lens appointment

At first glance, it may seem like anyone can pop in any contact lens and they will be a perfect fit for life. In reality, the process is more complicated, but it’s to ensure that your contact lenses match your individual needs.

Your eye doctor can measure your eyes, assess their health, and assist you in finding a comfortable fit, type, and brand of contact lenses that work for you during a contact lens examination and fitting. You should get a contact lens fitting with your annual eye exam if you plan on wearing contacts regularly.

Contact Lens Fitting

As a current or future contact lens wearer, you might be wondering why you need a fitting every year. Even if your eye doctor checks your contact prescription at your yearly eye exam, this is not a thorough enough check-up to be considered a fitting for your contact lenses.

Because contacts rest directly on your eyes, your contact lens fitting will require things over and above your yearly eye exam. It will include a discussion of:

  • How often you’ll wear your contacts
  • An evaluation of your vision and eye health
  • Exact measurements for your contacts.

There are a few contributing factors as to why your eyes need to be assessed.

Prescription Changes

When prescriptions are out of date, the eyes have to work harder than usual. To focus on objects, people squint, which wears out your eyes. Prescription updates help to eliminate fatigue by reducing strain on the eyes.

Finding a Comfortable Fit

The cornea’s curvature determines the size of your lens. The fit of the lens is typically evaluated by eye doctors after you’ve worn them for a few hours.

Often contacts feel and look wonderful when first placed, however after a few hours of wear, things might change considerably. Because of this, it’s important to make a follow-up contact lens check-up around a week or two later.

Even if a lens fits well it might still cause discomfort, you and your optometrist will need to explore another lens material. The comfort of contact lenses can be greatly influenced by the lens material, so unless you try different types your eye doctor won’t always be able to predict which material will be the most comfortable for you.

Lifestyle Changes

Many people don’t know that contact lenses come in different replacement schedules. Your options include:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Bi-weekly
  • Monthly
  • Annually

Determining which style suits your needs the most will be discussed at your contact lens fitting as well. Your current lifestyle greatly impacts which replacement schedule would be the best for you, and can change over time. 

Additionally, your current eye health impacts how often you will need to change your contacts. For example, people with dry eye disease, diabetes or allergies will require a more frequent replacement schedule.

Your optometrist will discuss how often you will wear your contacts, as well as your budget to determine which style will be the best and most cost-effective fit for you.

What to Expect

A thorough eye exam is the first thing to do if you’re thinking about getting contact lenses. Your eye doctor will assess your prescription and check to see if your eyes are healthy enough to wear contacts. Once you’re clear to wear contacts, next will be your contact lens fitting.

To make sure that the contact lens’ shape fits your eye’s curve accurately, your eye doctor will measure your:

  • Cornea’s curvature 
  • Pupils and iris

This is done using a keratometer, topographer or autorefractor. These tools enable your optometrist to accurately determine the right fit for your contact lens. They will also complete an assessment of your eye’s tear film to make sure you’re producing enough tears to retain moisture.

Lastly, your eye doctor will check to see if the contact lens is centred on the eye, how blinking affects the movement of the contact lenses, and most importantly, how well each eye can see both far away and up close. 

Your long-term eye health, vision, and comfort when wearing contact lenses are dependent on the accurate fitting of your lenses.

a woman puts in her contact lens after a fitting appointment

Maintaining Your Eye Health

Eye infections brought on by contact lenses and other accidents can cause permanent harm, but they are preventable. One of the simplest and most crucial steps you can take to protect your vision is the clean and proper care of contact lenses. 

  • Always wash your hands and before touching your lenses make sure your hands are dry and free of soap and moisturizers
  • Only use your fingertips to touch the contact lens, not your fingernails.
  • Be mindful of expiry dates on cleaning and storing solutions

Book Your Appointment

Comfort and clear vision are the ultimate goals. It may seem like a long process, but we want to make sure you are happy and confident in your contact lenses. 

If you would like to move forward with your next contact lens fitting, or if you have any more questions, book an appointment with Queensway Optometric Center today!

Written by Lareina Yeung

Dr. Yeung graduated with her Honours Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees from the University of Waterloo in 2003. Upon graduation, she joined the team at Queensway Optometric Centre (QOC). In addition to her work at QOC, Dr. Yeung served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) for 7 years, where she chaired and participated in various committees. Dr. Yeung spent her final year at the OAO as Vice President and is a recipient of the OAO President’s Award for her outstanding contribution to the profession.
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