What’s the Difference Between an Eye Exam and a Contact Lens Exam?

What’s the Difference Between an Eye Exam and a Contact Lens Exam?

What’s the Difference Between an Eye Exam and a Contact Lens Exam?

What’s the Difference Between an Eye Exam and a Contact Lens Exam?



Do you have vision issues? If you do, you will likely need to start wearing corrective lenses to help you see clearly again. Often, the options come down to contact lenses or prescription eyeglasses. 


If you are considering getting contact lenses, you will need to let your eye doctor know. This is because you will need to undergo a contact lens exam in addition to your comprehensive eye exam. There is a difference between a routine eye exam and a contact lens exam. 



Routine Eye Exam vs. Contact Lens Exam



Most people are aware that they should undergo annual eye exams to check the quality of their vision and the general health of their eyes. However, a routine eye exam is not enough if you plan to start wearing contact lenses. Understanding the difference between the two will save you lots of time and money.



Comprehensive Eye Exam



During your routine comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will test your visual acuity using an eye chart. The doctor will perform several other tests as well to determine your eye health, in addition to determining whether you require vision correction eyewear. 


A comprehensive eye exam or prescription eyeglasses exam usually involves three basic steps. Your eye doctor will first ask you about your vision problems and medical history. Next, he/she will assess the sharpness of your vision. The eye doctor will then perform other tests, such as:


  • Color blindness test.
  • Visual field test to check for blind spots in your peripheral vision.
  • Cover test to assess your eye alignment.
  • Glaucoma test.
  • Ocular motility test to assess eye movement.
  • Slit-lamp exam to check the surface of your eyes under magnification.
  • Stereopsis test to assess depth perception.
  • Refraction test to determine your eyeglass prescription.
  • Retinoscopy.


Finally, your eye doctor may apply drops to dilate and/or numb your eyes before measuring their pressure and examining the inside of your eye. If your eyes require vision correction, your eye doctor will provide a prescription for corrective lenses. 



Contact Lens Exam



Your optometrist will evaluate the shape and size of your eye during a contact lens exam to find contact lenses that fit your eyes properly. The doctor will also check for any eye condition that could affect comfort while using contact lenses. Usually, a contact lens exam will involve the following:


  • Measurement of your corneas to help your eye doctor determine the proper size and curve of your contact lenses.
  • Evaluation of your tear film to determine whether you have severe dry eye.
  • Iris and pupil measurements to help the doctor choose contacts that fit well and comfortably on your eyes.



After a Contact Lens Exam



Following these tests, you will probably need to try several different contact lens brands to determine those most comfortable. When you find contacts that fit comfortably and properly, in addition to improving your vision, your eye doctor will write your prescription.



Why You Need a Separate Exam for Contact Lenses



If you plan to start wearing contact lenses, you will need a separate eye exam since contact lenses are medical devices. Fortunately, your eye doctor can perform the exam at the same time as your routine eye exam.


For more on eye exams and contact lens exams, visit Gregg Family Eye Care at our office in Secane, Pennsylvania. You can call (610) 831-4300 today to schedule an appointment.

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