Skip to main content
Home »

Gsp Contact Lens Exams

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Eye Exams For the Whole Family

Eye Exam for adults children family

What Is a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

A comprehensive eye exam involves a series of tests that assess your eye health and vision. This type of eye exam can only be performed by an eye doctor, and shouldn’t be confused with the vision screenings given in schools or other non-professional settings.

Having regular comprehensive eye exams is crucial when it comes to protecting your eyes from sight-threatening diseases, and ensuring that your optical prescription is up-to-date.

A comprehensive eye exam can also reveal signs of a general health condition like diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol.

Why Are Regular Eye Exams So Important?

Regular comprehensive eye exams enable your eye doctor to monitor your eye health and vision over the course of many years. In addition to determining whether you need a new prescription, your optometrist looks for the first signs of sight-threatening eye conditions. In their early stages, diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration have no noticeable symptoms, even while damaging your eyesight. By the time you notice symptoms, vision loss is usually permanent, so early detection is crucial.

What to Expect During a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Most comprehensive eye exams include the following tests:

    • Visual acuity test to measure your near and distance vision. During this test, you’ll be asked to identify letters on a chart.
    • Refraction test to identify any refractive errors you may have and the type of optical prescription you may need. Your eye doctor will look for signs of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia (age-related farsightedness).
    • Retinoscopy to obtain an approximation of your optical prescription. Your eye doctor will hold a number of lenses in front of each eye to determine which lens offers you the clearest, most comfortable vision.
    • Visual field test to detect the presence of scotomas (blind spots) in your side vision, which can be a red flag for certain eye diseases, like glaucoma.
    • Glaucoma test to measure the pressure inside your eyes. A machine called a tonometer will dispense a puff of air toward your eye and then calculate your eye pressure based on your eye’s resistance to the air.
  • Slit lamp exam to magnify and illuminate your inner and outer eye structures to identify any abnormalities.

How Long Does a Comprehensive Eye Exam Take?

No two patients are alike, so each eye exam is different. Your eye doctor will decide which tests to perform based on your age, personal health and family health history, whether you wear glasses or contact lenses, and other factors.

Why Do Children Need Comprehensive Eye Exams?

An estimated 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems.

For this reason it’s important to have your child’s eyes examined from as early as 6 months of age and in their toddler years to determine if their eyes and vision are developing normally.

After that, annual eye exams are recommended for all children ages 5 to 18, to ensure that a refractive error or other vision problem isn’t impacting their learning or academic success.

If your child wears eyeglasses or contact lenses, they should have an eye exam with a refraction test, at least every year, or according to your optometrist’s instructions.

Similarly, if your child has a lazy eye or eye turn (strabismus), or is at risk of developing an eye or vision condition, they may need to have their eyes examined more frequently.

Common risk factors for vision problems include:

  • Premature birth
  • Developmental delays
  • Turned or crossed eyes
  • Family history of eye conditions/diseases
  • History of eye injury
  • Physical illness or disease

Eye Exams for Adults

From the time you turn 18, it’s a good idea to have your eyes examined every 1-2 years.

By the time you reach 40, it’s especially important to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis, because it’s at this age that the earliest signs of cataracts, presbyopia and macular degeneration can appear.

Above the age of 60 your risk of developing an eye disease further increases, so annual eye exams are vital.

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, have diabetes, hypertension or another health condition, your eye doctor may recommend more frequent eye exams to monitor your eye health.

Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam Near You

Contact our eye care clinic today to schedule an eye exam near you.

Contact Lens Exams

Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Man smiling wearing contact lenses

Have you been thinking about switching to contact lenses? With contact lenses, you’ll never have to worry about rain-speckled lenses, frames that slide down your nose, or lost or broken eyeglasses.

Contacts are particularly suited to people who lead active lifestyles, especially if you play sports. Not only are they a safer option, but you also won’t have to worry about your glasses getting bent or broken.

Then there’s the flexibility that contacts provide: They go with everything in your wardrobe while boosting your confidence.

But the only way to gain all the benefits from contact lens wear is to make sure your lenses fit well — so they aren’t constantly popping out of your eyes or causing eye discomfort or irritation.

What is a Contact Lens Exam?

A contact lens exam includes a series of tests to assess your candidacy for contact lens wear.

This specialized exam will not only measure your cornea and optical prescription but give your eye doctor a chance to learn about your lifestyle habits and personal preferences regarding wearing contact lenses.

There are many different types of contact lens options: soft lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, bifocals, multifocals, dailies, bi-weeklies, monthlies, and extended wear options — not to mention all the specialty lenses designed for dry or hard-to-fit eyes.

After learning more about you and your eyes, you’re eye doctor will be able to recommend the most appropriate type of contact lenses for you.

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

A regular eye exam assesses your eye health and visual acuity. Regular eye exams are important but don’t include tests specifically designed for first-time contact lens wearers or their follow-up assessments.

A contact lens exam determines whether you’re a good candidate for contact lenses and pinpoints your contact lens prescription, which is different from your eyeglass prescription. Based on the results, your eye doctor can prescribe the contact lenses that best suit your needs.

What to Expect During a Contact Lens Exam

During your contact lens exam, you’ll discuss any specific lifestyle habits or eye conditions that could affect your ability to wear contact lenses comfortably.

Be sure to tell your eye doctor if you’re considering colored contact lenses, bifocal or multifocal lenses, or a combination of multifocal and monovision lenses.

What Happens During a Contact Lens Fitting?

One size does not fit all when it comes to contact lenses.

Contact lenses that don’t fit properly can cause discomfort, blurry vision and even damage your eyes.

To ensure that your contact lenses fit your eyes’ unique curvatures, your eye doctor will take some measurements of your cornea, pupil and iris.

Corneal Curvature

The curvature of your cornea, the clear front covering of your eye, will be measured with an instrument called a keratometer to determine the appropriate curve for your contact lenses.

If you have astigmatism, your cornea has a flatter corneal curve that can make it difficult to wear standard contact lenses. Your eye doctor may recommend a ‘toric’ lens instead, which is designed to fit more securely on an astigmatic eye.

Sometimes, a corneal topography is performed to measure the corneal surface in greater detail.

Pupil or Iris Size

The size of your pupil and iris — the colored part of your eye — will be measured with a biomicroscope or slit lamp, or in some cases, with a ruler or card.

This measurement is especially important if you’re considering gas permeable (GP) contact lenses.

Tear Film Evaluation

One of the most common problems that affect contact lens wear is dry eyes.

If your eyes are dry, wearing contact lenses can be extremely uncomfortable, or even impossible.

Your eye doctor will therefore evaluate your tear film to make sure that you’re producing enough tears to keep your contact lenses moist and comfortable.

During this test, your eye doctor will put a drop of liquid dye on your eye and then assess your tears with a slit lamp, or place a special strip of paper underneath your eyelid to see how much moisture is absorbed.

If your tear film is weak, your eye doctor may recommend a specific type of contact lens that’s specially designed to help maintain eye moisture and hydration.

What Are Trial Contact Lenses?

After all of your measurements are taken, your eye doctor may give you a pair of contact lenses to try on. They may insert them in your eyes or show you how to do it yourself. Once they’re in your eyes, your eye doctor will wait about 20 minutes to see how well they fit and how well you can see while wearing them.

It can sometimes take several trials until you find the pair of lenses that fit you best.

Your eye doctor will then order your new contact lenses, and give you detailed instructions on how to handle and care for your contacts to ensure that they remain clean and safe for your eyes.

If you’re new to contact lenses, you may feel uneasy about inserting and removing them. Rest assured that ‘practice makes perfect.’ You’ll become a pro within a few days.

How Often Do You Need a Contact Lens Exam?

After about a week of wearing your trial lenses, your eye doctor will want to check how your eyes are adjusting to your new lenses.

If you’re experiencing any discomfort or dryness in your eyes, don’t wait until your follow-up appointment to have your eyes examined. Your eye doctor may decide to try a different type of lens, recommend another brand of contact lens solution, or adjust your wearing schedule.

To find out if you can benefit from contact lenses, contact Parmer Eye Care in Austin today to schedule your contact lens exam.

Hard-to-Fit Contacts

It is not uncommon for patients to have difficulty wearing contact lenses for a number of reasons. Due to the individual eye shape, certain conditions or impairments or the aftermath of surgery, some patients are considered to be “hard to fit” as contact lens wearers.

Happy hard-to-fit contact lens patient wearing scleral lenses

Contact Lenses for the Hard to Fit Patient

For hard to fit patients that prefer to wear contact lenses, there are options available that can provide comfortable and effective contact lens wear. This will require a specialized fitting with an eye doctor that is an expert that knows your condition and the various products available to find the right match for your specific condition. You may be considered a hard to fit contact lens candidate if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Dry Eyes
  • Astigmatism
  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Keratoconus
  • Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
  • Post-LASIK or other refractive surgery
  • Presbyopia (reduced near vision common in individuals aged 40 and over).
  • Corneal Scarring

Dry Eyes and Contact Lenses

Dry Eye Syndrome causes your eyes to feel dry, gritty, burning, red, and irritated. Dry Eye Syndrome can also cause blurred vision. Often these symptoms can sometimes worsen by the use of contacts. In fact, many people who do not normally suffer from chronic dry eyes, will experience some of these symptoms as a result of contact lens wear.

First of all, if you have chronic dry eyes, you should see your eye doctor for treatment and relief before you think about contact lenses. Once your dry eyes are treated, it is safe to try contacts and there are a number of options that can be considered.

Many brands of soft contacts and products such as disinfectant and cleansing solutions are made with ingredients that are designed to be more comfortable for individuals with dry eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend some of these brands and products to you. Alternatively, gas permeable (GP) or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are made with a hard material that in some cases does not dry out like soft lenses and they are able to hold a certain amount of moisture beneath the lens to keep the eye from drying out. Gas permeable lenses are a very good option and can be quite comfortable for individuals with dry eyes.

Additionally, your doctor might recommend a specific wearing schedule such as limiting the time you wear your contacts throughout the day or replacing your contacts on a more frequent basis.

Toric Lenses for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a condition that causes blurred vision (in some cases double vision) because rather than being round, the front of the eye (the cornea) has two curves instead of one, therefore, having two focal points instead of one. This makes it hard for traditional contact lenses to fit and therefore requires specialized contact lenses such as toric lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs).

Toric contact lenses are designed to correct astigmatism and custom made to fit the eye of the patient. Most are made of soft material designed to stay in place on the eye, however in some cases, when the rotation of the lens (due to blinking and eye movement) can’t be stopped, gas permeable lenses might be tried. Due to the customization and more complicated fitting process required for these lenses, they are more expensive and take more time for the contact lens laboratory to make than traditional lenses.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) and Contact Lenses

GPC is a type of conjunctivitis in which the inner surface of the eyelid becomes swollen. The condition can be caused or worsened by a buildup of protein deposits on contact lenses. Your eye doctor may either recommend daily disposable lenses or RGP lenses (which are not water based) and therefore have less of a tendency for protein buildup. Your doctor may also prescribe medicated eye drops and require you to stop the use of contact lenses until the symptoms improve.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) or Gas Permeable (GP) Lenses

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) also known as Gas Permeable (GP) lenses are effective for many hard to fit patients. The hard, oxygen permeable material lets the eye breathe and significantly reduces the chance of infection due to protein deposits which tend to harbor bacteria on soft lenses. RGPs also hold moisture under the lens to keep eyes from drying out.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses for Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea thins and bulges forward into a cone shape. Traditional contact lenses may cause some discomfort in these patients and the vision may still be blurry therefore RGPs are often used for treatment for mild, moderate, and some severe cases. Rigid gas permeable lenses may help to slow down the cone shape from worsening in some cases. Further, RGPs are able to assist in vision correction for keratoconus which is often not possible with soft contacts or even eyeglasses.

Post-LASIK or Vision Correction (Refractive) Surgery

While LASIK surgery has a very high success rate, there are vision complications and symptoms that sometimes remain. Night vision after LASIK, in particular, can sometimes give you side effects such as glare or halos around lights. RGPs are often effective in helping with these side effects and restoring clear vision.

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a common condition in those people usually over 40 years old in which the eyes’ ability to focus on close objects is impaired. Many people keep a pair of bifocal or multifocal glasses on hand for times when they have to read menus, newspapers, books, and other objects that require near vision. For those that prefer contact lenses over eyeglasses, bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are an option.

For some patients that have presbyopia and need correction for distance vision as well, one option is monovision. Monovision is a contact lens fitting process in which you wear a contact lens in one eye for distance vision and the other contact lens of your other eye for near vision. Another option is multifocal contact lenses. In this contact lens fitting process, both eyes are usually fit for distance vision and both eyes are used for near at the same time. Both contact lens fitting options usually take about one week for the brain and the eyes to adjust.

If you have one of these conditions or find contact lens wear difficult for another reason, speak with our Austin eye doctor. As technology improves there are more and more options for hard to fit contact lens patients to benefit from the comfort and convenience of contact lens use.