Contact Lenses: The Right Fit
One Size Does Not Fit All: Proper fitting of contact lenses crucial for comfort, safety.
If you haven't worn or investigated contact lenses since leisure suits were all the rage, be aware that some marvelous advances have been made in lens technology. An array of products is available to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and other vision problems.
"Right now, eye care patients can easily obtain everything from bifocal contacts to new disposable lenses that you can wear for a week -- or even a single day -- and then simply discard," says Kenneth N. Schwaderer, O.D., F.A.A.O., a VSP optometrist of Mountain View, California.
Because lenses offer so many advantages, it's vital that they be properly fitted and worn, says Dr. Schwaderer.
"Contact lenses are a medical device," he says. "But in recent years, there's been so much commercial hype that they're often put in the same category as a six-pack of soda. That's a mistake. Remember that contact lenses still require a prescription, and they should be fitted and handled with the same care that goes into any other medical prescription," Dr. Schwaderer says. "For that reason, I recommend against ordering original contact lenses by mail-order."
A proper fitting of your new contact lenses will confirm that your vision has been corrected accurately, while also assuring that your eyes won't be damaged by wearing the devices.
Contact lenses fit over the cornea of the eye, and it's important to protect the health of the cornea with a proper fit. An inadequate fitting could damage the sensitive tissues of the cornea, leading to irritation, infection or even an ulcer in that part of the eye.
Be Sure to Get the Right Fit
According to Dr. Schwaderer, an eye exam and contact lens fitting should include:
Analysis of the vision problem and overall eye health. Your eye doctor should compile a case history, then test your eyesight carefully. The lens fitting should proceed only after resolving any health problems uncovered by a thorough eye exam.
Selection of the proper lens. The eye doctor will measure your eyes, then look for a lens with the right amount of curve, thickness and diameter to correct your vision. In most cases, the contacts can be purchased right in the doctor's office.
Instructions on lens handling and care solutions. Proper maintenance of your new contact lenses is crucial: Don't stop asking questions until you understand what has to be done!
Establishment of a wearing schedule. The wearing schedule basically tells you how long you can safely keep your contact lenses in your eyes.
Proper fitting evaluation. During your next eye exam, discuss issues such as comfort, clarity and accuracy of vision with contact lenses on.