What is involved in a Contact Lens Consultation and why is it important?

What is involved in a Contact Lens Consultation and why is it important?

Contacts are a fantastic visual aid however it should always be remembered that a thin piece of plastic is being placed on the surface of the eye and this needs to be monitored yearly to ensure that your eyes are coping well, the lenses are not causing any issues and are providing you with the best possible vision.

A lens review can be conducted as part of a full comprehensive eye test, this is covered by Medicare, once every 3 years if you are under 65, or every year for over 65’s.  When making this appointment it’s important to mention that you would like a lens review as part of the full eye test to ensure that your Eye Care Practitioner is happy to do this at the same time.

These reviews can be conducted as a short, stand alone consultation, they may attract fees, depending on the Optical Practice.

So what is the difference between a full comprehensive eye test and a lens review? The full eye test is an in-depth vision and eye health examination whereas a lens review only considers the fit of your contact lenses, your visual acuity, the condition of the front surface of the eye and an evaluation of the tear film.

When having a lens review, your Eye Care Practitioner will prefer you to be wearing your lenses to the appointment, so they have settled in the eye and you are experiencing the quality of vision they provide.  This makes it easy for the fit of the lens, its movement, centration and visual acuity to be accessed first, easily and quickly. 

If you are attending the appointment and have been experiencing any discomfort with your lenses, do not insert them, but take them with you.

In order for your Eye Care Practitioner to review the front surface of the eye you will need to remove your contacts, so it’s a good idea to bring along a lens case so you can store them and re-insert following the consultation.   A slit lamp will be used to examine the surface of the eye, (the cornea), it should be smooth and free of any abrasions. Corneal abrasions can be caused by ill fitting lenses or problems with insertion and removal techniques, which can be easily addressed if caught early, before they become a bigger problem.

The stability of the tear film plays an important role in eye health, suppling nutrients, lubricating natural oils and defending the ocular surface by flushing away irritants such as pollutants and allergens.  Instability of the tear film causes discomfort due to eye dryness and can affect vision quality. To evaluate the tear film dye will be used, blinking will disperse the dye over the eyes surface, your Eye Care Professional will be watching to see how well the tear film disperses, the coverage and how long it takes for the tear to break up, if this happens quickly it can indicate eye dryness. 

During this review any issues that come up your Eye Care Professional will be able to offer advice to help you manage your continued contact lens wear. This sometimes can involve changing the type of lenses that you are using to take advantage of improved technologies and lens materials, alter lens dimensions or the wearing modality. 

As the wearer this is your opportunity to ask a Professional about any questions you have, consider if the lenses you are using are comfortable for a full day of wear.  Are you achieving a full 30 days of wear if you have monthly lenses?  Are there any activities in your life where you find the vision with your contact lenses is letting you down? Do you need to change the wearability of lenses to suit a change in your lifestyle?  Are you frustrated that the lenses you have been prescribed are often out of stock, is there another lens option you could use as a back up when this happens ?

A regular 12 month contact lens review is important as you are protecting the health of your eyes, ensuring your comfort and vision using contact lenses is the best it can be so you can continue to enjoy your contacts now and into the future.

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