duck photo by Christopher Woo
bus photo by Kevin Dooley
road photo by Kevin Dooley
Time picture but Leland Francisco
newspaper picture by Kevin Dooley
In this day and age the popularity of contacts is increasing rapidly. Whether you are wearing them for color enhancement, the convenience in playing sports or just for overall comfort, contacts are a wonderful choice. What once started as an optional medical device now seems like a necessity in everyone’s daily life. It is important as contact wearers that we don’t lose track of the fact that contacts are medical devices that are fitted custom by professional eye care practitioners, and that contact lens wear is not without risk. As prescribing Optometrists we do find a certain responsibility in making sure that all our contact lens wearers have the proper education and modern materials that greatly decrease the risks associated with contact lens wear. This all comes together in what our office refers to as annual contact lens fitting. For more information on our office philosophy and policies please refer to the Q & A below.
Does the annual eye exam come with a contact lens prescription?
A.No, annual eye examination includes a glasses prescription, only if necessary. The contact lens fitting, can be added in to your annual exam appointment if specified. At which time a contact lens prescription would be included.
Why can’t I just use my glasses prescription to get contacts?
A.A glasses prescription is calculated differently. The easiest way to understand the difference would be to look at the distance aspect. Glasses are designed to be looked through when sitting on your nose while contacts are designed to be looked through while sitting on the surface of your eye (with little to no gap in between). This distance makes a significant difference in the prescription. A prescription written to be glasses, in the form of contacts may be too strong or too weak leading to headaches, and eye strain. Besides distance there are aspects such as size, shape, thickness, and many other differences.
What is different about a contact lens fitting, compared to a routine eye exam?
A. While the surface of the eye is evaluated in the routine eye examination for its medical health a contact lens fitting is far more extensive. In a contact lens fitting not only do we evaluate the eyes ability to withstand having the contact in it, we also have to evaluate and measure every curve of your eye to find that perfect one contact that is going to be your custom prescription.
What is involved in a contact lens fitting?
A.The patient and the doctor will discuss the care-plan that is going to best fit the patient’s lifestyle, such as daily wear contacts versus contacts you sleep in or throw away. After thoroughly evaluating and measuring the eye, the patient will be given a diagnostic contact lens to wear for a trial period. Any patients that have not previously worn contacts will be given a thorough hands-on tutorial with one of our certified technicians. A trial period with the new contact lens will help the patient to decide if he/she likes the comfort and wearing schedule of the contact lens. At a follow-up appointment, the Doctor will check the vision to determine if the power can be changed to improve the quality or clarity of vision. The Doctor will also determine if the fit of the contact lens is appropriate with regard to the health of the eyes. If the fit, vision, and comfort of the lens is acceptable, a final prescription is then determined. Any adjustments to the contact lens prescription, as evaluated by the doctor for the following year, is included in this original contact lens fitting.
What is covered in the contact lens fitting fee?
A. Training on the proper care of lenses (for new patients), diagnostic contact lens trials (if necessary), sample of contact lens solution (if needed),evaluation by the Doctor of the fit and vision provided by the contact lens at a follow-up appointment. Multiple visits to the office to achieve a more complex fit are covered, as well.
Do I need to pay this fee each year?
A. Yes. It is our standard policy that in order to receive a contact lens prescription a contact lens fitting is in the patient’s best interest, in which case a fee is accrued.
How much do the contact lens fittings cost?
A. The fees are determined by the complexity of the fit and also whether the patient has previously worn contact lenses. A more complex fitting requires more time with the Doctor, as well as potentially more follow-up appointments to determine the appropriate prescription.
How long is a contact lens prescription valid?
A. One year, unless determined by the Doctor that the patient needs to return sooner, based on eye health concerns.
Why does a fitting cost more for first-time contact lens wearers?
A. Patients wearing contact lenses for the first time require an extra time with the Doctor and/or our staff, to teach the patient insertion and removal techniques for the contact lenses, as well as care of the contacts. This is usually not necessary with previous wearers.
Will my insurance cover my contact lens fitting?
A. This depends on your specific insurance plan. Many plans will cover towards glasses OR contact lenses, not both. It is always a good idea to check with your insurance company prior to your visit.