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Do I Need a Contact Lens Fitting?

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A woman about to insert a contact lens to her right eye with the help of a mirror.

Contact lenses are a discreet, versatile choice for vision correction for many Calgarians. But unlike grabbing a new pair of sunglasses, contact lenses require proper fitting and care to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. So, do you really need a contact lens fitting?

The answer is yes. Just like your eyes are unique, so are your vision needs. While it may seem unnecessary, a contact lens fitting allows your eye doctor to determine the correct type and prescription to provide optimal vision correction.

What Are Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses are thin, curved lenses made of various materials that sit directly on the surface of your eye. They function similarly to glasses to correct refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Contact lenses can also be used for cosmetic purposes or to treat certain eye conditions, like dry eye or keratoconus.

Why Is a Contact Lens Fitting Necessary?

If you’re new to contact lenses or considering switching brands or styles, a contact lens fitting is crucial for ensuring they fit correctly and provide crisp, comfortable vision correction. 

A fitting involves several steps to determine your eye health, prescription needs, and lifestyle factors that can impact your success with contacts.

A professional fitting assesses your eye health to ensure contacts are safe and comfortable while also measuring your unique eye shape for a perfect fit. The right fit goes hand-in-hand with both comfort and clear vision. A fitting helps find lenses that feel great and provide optimal vision correction. 

You’ll also be taught how to insert, remove, and care for your lenses is invaluable for long-term comfort and eye health.

What Is Included in a Contact Lens Fitting?

Taking the step towards a contact lens fitting unlocks a world of clear vision and freedom in your daily activities. Here’s what you can expect during your appointment:

  • Consultation: Your eye doctor will discuss your medical history and lifestyle needs to determine what lens type can work best for you.
  • Corneal measurement: Using specialized tools like a keratometer and corneal topography, we’ll measure your cornea to find the ideal lens curvature and diameter.
  • Pupil and iris measurements: Precise measurements of your pupil and iris ensure the lenses properly cover your cornea without compromising comfort.
  • Tear film evaluation: This vital step assesses your tear film health. A healthy tear film is crucial for keeping your lenses moist and comfortable throughout the day.
  • Trial lenses: Based on the measurements taken, your eye doctor will place trial lenses on your eyes to assess the fit and ensure optimal visual clarity.
  • Follow-up: After a trial wearing period, you’ll return for a follow-up visit to confirm the fit of the lenses or make any necessary adjustments.

Types of Contact Lenses

Contact lens fittings typically last about an hour, with extra time needed for specialty or rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses. RGP lenses are known for their exceptional clarity and durability but require a different fitting process due to their firmer material.  

Once fitted, you’ll have several lens options, each catering to different lifestyles and needs:

  • Daily wear: These lenses are comfortable for all-day wear. They’re worn once and discarded at the end of the day. 
  • Extended wear: These lenses are designed for continuous wear for a specific period, sometimes even overnight. Consult your eye doctor to determine if your eyes are suitable for extended wear.
  • Bifocal or multifocal: These lenses provide clear vision at both near and far distances, making them ideal for those who require reading glasses.
  • Toric: These lenses are designed to correct astigmatism and uneven curvature of the cornea, resulting in sharper vision.
  • Specialty lenses: This category encompasses a wide range of options to address specific visual needs.

Choice can be empowering! But it’s crucial to balance the type of lens with your individual needs and comfort level. Discuss your options with your eye doctor to find the perfect fit for your vision and lifestyle.

A close-up of a person's hands being washed using soap and water.

Importance of Proper Care for Contact Lenses

Following your eye doctor’s lens care instructions is key to a delightful wearing experience and avoiding potential eye problems.

Infections and irritations are no fun, so here are some quick tips to keep your lenses in good shape:

  • Always wash and dry your hands before handling contacts.
  • Use only the recommended lens solution for cleaning and storing your lenses.
  • Replace your lens case every 3 months to prevent bacterial buildup.
  • Follow the wearing schedule prescribed by your optometrist and avoid over-wearing your lenses.

Following these simple care routines can help your contacts last longer and protect your precious eye health.

A Step Closer to Clearer Vision

With your newfound knowledge about contact lens fittings and their importance, why not take the next step? Talk to our team at Southwood Eyecare to schedule a fitting. It’s a decision that you and your eyes will appreciate in the long run!

Written by Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery

Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba and later completed the Doctor of Optometry program at Illinois College of Optometry graduating with Magna Cum Laude honours. Dr. Chaudhery is also a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society and the Tomb and Key Honor Fraternity. She has experience with pediatric eye exams, ocular disease, specialty contact lenses, and vision therapy. During her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton and spending time with her husband and kids.
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