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Eye Examination and Contact Lens Aftercare – What is the difference?

Those of you who wear contact lenses may be wondering why, if you come regularly for your contact lens aftercare appointments, you still need to come for an eye examination as well.

The two examinations have fundamentally different aims and although there is some overlap in some of the tests carried out there is a lot that is different between them.

Contact Lens Aftercare

The goal of a contact lens aftercare is to determine if your current contact lenses are correcting your vision well and checking the health of the front surface of the eye in detail as this is where the contact lens sits.

The aim is to make sure that any niggles you have with your contact lenses, whether that be an issue with the vision or comfort of the lenses, can be discussed in detail and addressed as necessary by altering your current lenses or changing to a new type of lens or solution.

The optometrist also makes sure that the contact lens is fitting well and not having any impact on the health of your eye.

The other important detail are the regulations controlling supply of contact lenses.  The lenses can only be supplied if you have a valid, current contact lens specification.  The contact lens specifications we issue are usually valid for twelve months from the date of the last aftercare and beyond this date we are unable to supply lenses until your eyes have been rechecked to confirm that the current lenses fit well and the eye health is good. 

This is shorter than the standard interval between eye examinations which is two years, another reason for the tests being separated.  We may recommend more frequent contact lens aftercare appointments if we feel it is necessary.

Eye Examination

An eye examination is tailored to examine the vision and spectacle prescription in greater detail as the prescription of your contact lenses will usually be different to the spectacle prescription due to the difference between the distances the two types of lenses are from your eyes.

The eye examination also includes tests relating to the alignment of your eyes as well as vital checks of eye health.  These will include an eye pressure check and a detailed assessment of the health of the structures inside the eye to screen for any eye diseases such as glaucoma or cataract.

For most people an eye examination is recommended every two years.  However, in some cases we will recommend seeing you more frequently if we feel it is necessary.  The regulations governing contact lens supply also state that you must have an up to date eye examination result in order for us to provide you with lenses.

 

David Summers

Written on 21st June 2018

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