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How Often Do You Need a Contact Lens Fitting?

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A woman smiling and holding a contact lens case in her left hand

Believe it or not, contact lenses are medical devices, and one size does not fit all. Our eyes are unique, as are the contact lenses and eyeglasses we wear.

Contact lens exams and fittings are must-haves to ensure clear vision and a comfortable fit with any prescription contact lens. But once you get a prescription for contact lenses, how often do you need a contact lens fitting?

Keep reading as we answer your questions on why you need contact lens exams, fittings, and how often.

Why Do I Need a Contact Lens Exam? 

Regardless if you already wear contact lenses or you’re interested in switching from eyeglasses, it’s essential to have your vision checked. Your vision and eye health status allow your eye doctor to determine which contact lenses work best for you.

First and foremost, a contact lens exam can ensure it’s safe for you to wear contact lenses and keeps your prescription up to date. Since your contact lenses sit directly on your eye, the prescription is different from your glasses prescription.

Contact lens exams include medical and eye history, a discussion about your lifestyle and preferences, and can include the following tests:

  • Keratometry: Also called corneal topography, this test measures the curvature of your cornea, the clear front part of the eye. It helps to determine the proper size and curve of the contact lens.
  • Pupil measurement: The size of your pupil helps determine the right size of contacts for your eyes. It also ensures they fit to look as natural as possible. 
  • Tear film evaluation: Dry eye disease is a common complaint with contact lens wearers. Assessing whether your eyes can produce enough tears can help ensure comfort when wearing contacts. Your eye doctor can also recommend lenses specific for people with dry eyes.
A woman learns more about contact lenses with her optician

Why Do I Need a Contact Lens Fitting?

After a contact lens exam, your eye doctor can use your measurements to choose a contact lens that provides the best-possible fit for your eye health, size, and refractive error. You may receive trial lenses to test out your new contacts and ensure they fit comfortably and provide clear vision.

For first-time wearers, a fitting can show how to safely insert, remove, and care for your contact lenses. For some people, it may take a few tries or adjustments to find the perfect pair. At this stage, you can also choose between daily disposables or extended-wear contacts. 

There are numerous contact lenses for hard-to-fit eyes, refractive errors, and dry eyes. These include soft contacts, rigid-gas permeable lenses, and multifocal, toric, and hybrid lenses. 

Once your optometrist determines the type that works best for you, you can order them from your eye doctor as you need. Your prescription can include lens power, curvature, and the diameter of your eyes. Without an up-to-date prescription and contact lens fitting, you may not be able to buy new contact lenses. 

How Often Do I Need a Contact Lens Fitting?

Typically, you should have one contact lens exam and fitting each year. It could be more often depending on if you have eye conditions or how often your prescription needs adjusting. 

Yearly contact lens fittings can help ensure:

  • You have the correct prescription, especially if you switch between contacts and glasses. 
  • Comfort and fit. Wearing contact lenses not prescribed by your eye doctor or expired contact lenses can cause damage to your eyes and discomfort.

With a change in lifestyle and preferences, you may need a different type of contact lenses and, therefore, contact lens fittings. 

Contact lenses should typically feel like there is nothing in your eye. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your eye doctor for an exam:

  • Increased grittiness
  • Stinging or burning
  • Redness
  • Dry eyes
  • Discomfort
  • Reduced vision or blurred vision
  • Dislodged contact lenses

Contact Lens Fitting at Precision Eye Care

At first, contact lenses can sometimes be uncomfortable to wear and difficult to use. You can avoid going through an unpleasant contact lens experience by having a contact lens exam and fitting each year, or more often if recommended. 

Annual contact lens exams and fittings, in addition to your regular eye exams, can help ensure your eyes are comfortable, preserve your eye health, and improve your vision. Even though your contact lens prescription may not change, exams and fittings are crucial in ruling out eye conditions. 

Book your exam with Precision Eye Care today. 

Written by Dr. Judy Chan

Dr. Chan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California San Diego in 1986 and her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1990 from Pacific University College of Optometry. To broaden her skills, she also completed a year of residency training, specializing in geriatrics and ocular diseases at the Veterans Hospital in Portland. After practicing in the Portland/Vancouver area for nearly 7 years, Dr. Chan purchased her first clinic in Battle Ground, Washington. She found private practice very fulfilling and promptly acquired her second office in 1999.

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