All three of our doctors here at Carrboro Family Vision provide exceptional contact lens services. We fit many kinds of contact lenses, including multifocal lenses for presbyopia and toric lenses for astigmatism. In addition, we routinely fit patients into rigid gas permeable lenses and other specialty lenses, such as CRT (corneal refractive therapy) lenses. CRT lenses are lenses that, when you sleep in them, reshape your cornea to allow you to see 20/20 throughout the day. Please see our page about CRT for more information. If you’re interested in contact lenses, please just give our office a call and we’d be delighted to discuss fees and possibilities with you. Every pair of eyes is different, and there are many different kinds of contact lenses on the market to accommodate your particular needs.
What is a contact lens evaluation?
During a routine eye exam, if you currently wear or want to wear contacts, the doctors perform a separate exam to evaluate your eyes for contacts. It includes additional testing, additional time with the doctor, and thus there is an additional charge associated with the exam. In our office, you might hear us refer to this exam as a “contact lens update,” assuming you’re an established contact lens wearer and your prescription keeps you in the same contact lens.
In order to prescribe contact lenses an optometrist must complete several additional tests:
- Evaluate the cornea, eyelids, and conjunctiva to determine how wearing contact lenses affects the health of the eyes.
- Determine the proper contact lens prescription based on visual needs, the health of the cornea, and the curvature of the eye.
- Contact lens prescriptions are separate from glasses prescriptions; they are always written for a specific type, curvature, and strength.
- Examine the contact lens on the surface of the eye to ensure proper fit and correct alignment with the cornea and eyelids.
- Measure visual acuity with contact lenses on the eyes and make adjustments as needed to optimize vision.
Why is the contact lens evaluation separate from the comprehensive eye examination fee?
All insurance companies require that optometrists bill a contact lens exam separately from a comprehensive eye exam. Blue Cross and Blue Shield and United Healthcare, for example, both typically consider contact lens exams to be an elective service, excluded from the patient’s routine eye exam benefits.
What is a contact lens prescription?
Contact lenses are medical devices that can only be dispensed with a valid prescription. Prescriptions for contact lenses from our office expire after one year. The prescription will include the power of the lenses, the type of contact you have been prescribed, and the curvature of the lenses. While wearing contacts, your eyes go through gradual changes including size and physiological requirements (such as a need for oxygen). These changes can affect the health of the cornea, which is why our prescriptions expire after one year. A contact lens prescription is separate and distinct from your prescription for glasses.
How should I take care of my contact lenses?
- Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses.
- Put on soft contact lenses before applying makeup. Put on rigid gas permeable lenses after applying makeup.
- Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, as directed by your optometrist. Rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly before soaking lenses overnight in sufficient multipurpose solution to completely cover the lens, or in the specially designed case used with hydrogen peroxide solutions.
- With multi-purpose solutions, you should replace your case at a minimum of every three months. With hydrogen peroxide solutions, you should only use the case that comes with each solution bottle, replacing the case as you go through each bottle of solution.
- Empty your contact lens case after every use and keep it open and dry between cleanings. Only fresh solution should be used to clean and store contact lenses. Never re-use old solution! Contact lens solution must be changed according to the manufacturers recommendations, even if the lenses are not used daily.
- Use only products recommended by your optometrist to clean and disinfect your lenses. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
- Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your optometrist.
- Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
- See your optometrist for your regularly scheduled contact lens and comprehensive eye examination.
What potential problems can I have as a contact lens wearer?
Following your optometrist’s advice and maintaining regular follow-up care will prevent most problems. It is generally not difficult to wear contact lenses. Problems with contact lens wear can be serious, however. Here is a list of some signs that things may not be going well. If you experience any of these, contact our office as soon as possible.
- Blurred or fuzzy vision, especially of sudden onset.
- Red, irritated eyes.
- Uncomfortable lenses.
- Pain in and around the eyes.
- Increased tearing (watery eyes) or discharge.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Feeling like there’s something in your eye (with or without lens wear).