Contact Lens Exams

  • Some people prefer to wear contact lenses instead of glasses. Contacts have come a long way since they were invented, and now, there are many options for a variety of vision problems, including astigmatism. If you are considering contact lenses to correct your vision, it’s normal to have questions about their care and your eye health. Our eye team answered some of the most common questions from our patients:

    Is a contact lens exam the same as a regular eye examination?

    No. Your optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye examination that evaluates your vision and overall eye health. Then, if you are interested in contact lenses as an alternative to glasses, there are additional tests necessary to determine whether you are a good candidate for contacts. Much like shirts and sandals, contacts are not one size fits all. The eye doctor will evaluate your corneal curvature, the size of your pupil and iris and assess your tear film — a protective coating of tears that spreads like a film over the front of your eyes. One of the most common problems with contact lens wearing is dry eyes, so we need to confirm your tear film is sufficient.

    What types of contact lenses are available?

    Contact lenses come in two forms: hard and soft. Hard lenses hold their shape while allowing oxygen through the lens. The most common hard lenses are rigid, gas permeable lenses (RPG). These may be preferable if you have allergies or for severe astigmatism. (Also talk to us about vision shaping, a way to wear contacts at night to change your vision.)

    Soft lenses are by far the top choice of contact lens wearers; they are more comfortable to wear and easily stay in place. Soft contact lenses come in many varieties:

    Frequency of Wear

    • Daily wear: Removed nightly, placed back in the eye in the morning. These are the least expensive.
    • Extended-wear: Worn during the day and while sleeping but removed at least weekly for thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
    • Disposable-wear: Removed nightly and replaced on a regular basis (daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly). These are more convenient but more expensive.

    Correction Types

    • Toric lenses: If you have astigmatism, you may opt for toric lenses, which correct it, though not as well as RPG lenses in some cases.
    • Bifocal or multifocal lenses: These are available in both soft and RPG and can correct nearsightedness, and farsightedness in combination with the typical vision loss that occurs with aging.
    • Colored lenses and circle lenses: Colored lenses change your eye color and appearance. Circle lenses make the iris look larger. You can order these with or without a vision prescription.

    What are the benefits of contact lenses?

    Because contact lenses sit directly on your eye, your peripheral vision is unobstructed. Many contact lens wearers feel freer to participate in sports and outdoor activities without fear of breaking their glasses. People with contacts can also buy sunglasses from anywhere instead of ordering a pair with a prescription. This cuts down on the fear of losing your sunglasses, too!

    And of course, some people prefer the look of their face without glasses, even with the fantastic frame selection available today.

    If you and your optometrist decide contact lenses are a good option for you, your doctor will fit you with a trial pair. You probably will require a follow-up appointment or two to make sure you have adjusted to the new lenses.

    Are there any concerns with contact lenses?

    Most people can safely wear contact lenses as long as they are properly cleaned and maintained. Talk to the team at The Eye Institute about your options for contacts.

    The Eye Institute

    Good Looks is now The Eye Institute.

    Thank you for visiting GoodLooks. We’re now part of The Eye Institute family. You can still visit us in the same North Raleigh location or check out one of our other two offices in Raleigh or Knightdale. Learn more on the “Locations” page on our website.

    We look forward to seeing you again soon!