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Home » Q&A for Contact Lens Fitting with Dr. Viker

Q&A for Contact Lens Fitting with Dr. Viker

Q: What is the difference between an eye exam geared towards wearers of glasses and an eye exam geared towards wearers of contact lens?

A: There is quite a difference as contact lenses are a medical device placed directly on the eye. Fitting a patient in contact lenses requires a number of considerations that are unique to each individual.

Before undergoing a contact lens fitting, patients must have a comprehensive eye examination to determine their glasses prescription and establish that their eyes are healthy overall and healthy enough for contact lens wear. Once that has been established, I will proceed with a contact lens fitting and follow up care to determine the best contact lens for the patient.

Q: What can be expected during a contact lens fitting?

A: During a contact lens fitting, I analyze the patient’s individual eye health, prescription, corneal curvature (front part of the eye), and ocular surface to determine if contact lenses are an appropriate option. When I have determined that contact lenses are an option for a patient, I will then advise the patient which lens is the best option for them. From there, I have the patient wear diagnostic contact lenses so that I can assess if the lenses are performing correctly. This requires that the patient have clear vision, the lenses align properly on the cornea, and are comfortable.

Q: What if a patient hasn’t previously worn contact lenses?

A: If a patient is new to contact lens wear, they will undergo a contact lens fitting and additional training on how to handle and care for their lenses properly. An optician will teach them how to apply and remove contact lenses safely and how to care for the lenses. This training typically takes about one hour.

Q: What are contact lens measurements? Does it change if a patient has astigmatism?

A: All contact lenses have a base curve, a diameter, and power (prescription). When I am fitting a patient with a contact lens I measure the curvature of their cornea and select a contact lens that will align properly on the patient’s eye. I also insure that the diameter (size of the contact) is appropriate for the patient’s corneal diameter and eyelid architecture.

The prescription for contact lenses is typically different for each patient than their glasses prescription, so I also determine which contact lens power will optimize the patient’s vision.

For patients that have astigmatism, the process is the same, but the prescription is more complicated. Astigmatism prescriptions have two additional components compared to prescriptions without astigmatism. Fortunately, there are many excellent contact lens options for patients with astigmatism, however it may take trying a few lenses to find the right fit.

Q: Will I know right away if the contact lenses fit or is that something that can only be felt with the passage of time?

A: The only way to judge if contact lenses fit properly is to have an eye doctor examine the lens performance on the eye under a microscope. When I evaluate contact lenses, I am insuring that they are centered on the eye properly and that they move slightly when a patient blinks to facilitate tear exchange (fresh tears moving underneath the lens). Patients may have a contact that fits too tightly on their eye that feels fine to them but could cause long-term problems.

From a patient’s perspective, it can take up to four days to adapt to a new contact lens brand or new prescription, so I always encourage my patients to give it some time and let their visual system get used to the change.

Q: How does an eye doctor determine which contact lens brand to recommend to a patient? Whether to use daily contacts or reusable?

A: Daily disposable, single-use contact lenses are, in my opinion, far and away the best option for anyone. Patients have a clean, sterile lens every day and don’t have to worry about cleaning the contacts; the lenses are simply thrown away after wearing. Patients report that they have better comfort with daily disposables and they enjoy the convenience of not having to disinfect their lenses each day. Both Dr. Gustafson and I wear daily disposables on our own eyes, as we both believe they are the best type of contact lenses.

Some patients will need to wear a frequent-replacement contact lens due to their prescription or if they have a need or desire to sleep in contact lenses. For these patients, I will make a decision if two week or monthly disposable contacts fit their needs best.

Q: Are contact lenses for everyone?

A: Contact lenses work for most people but are not for everyone. Patients who have usable vision in only one eye, people with medically diagnosed dry eye, or patients with corneal disease are not good candidates for contact lens wear.

Q: Are there special contact lenses for people that need reading glasses or bifocals? Astigmatism?

A: Fortunately, there are many varieties of contact lenses that will fit nearly any prescription or lifestyle need and the technology has vastly improved.

Patients that use reading glasses or bifocals can wear multifocal contact lenses. These are lenses that allow a good range of vision from distance to near and typically result in the patient only needing reading glasses a small minority of the time. This is a technology that has advanced markedly in the past few years.

Patients with astigmatism have far more options now than they have in the past. Most patients with astigmatism can now wear a daily disposable, single-use lens and enjoy the comfort and convenience of a daily. Patients with higher amounts of astigmatism could only wear rigid (hard) contact lenses in the past and now most can wear a soft, disposable contact lens.

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To our valued patients,

At The Eye Doctors, Inc. the health and well-being of our patients is at the core of everything that we do. In light of the rapidly changing situation and the spread of COVID-19 we made the difficult decision to close the clinic on Tuesday, March 17 th.

At this time, the Wal-Mart Vision Center remains open limited hours for urgent glasses repairs, pick-ups of existing orders and new contact lens orders. The vision center is open every day from 10 AM to 2 PM and on Tuesdays from 6 AM to 2 PM, with the hour of 6 AM to 7 AM reserved for senior citizens. New orders of contact lenses can be placed in-store or over the phone at 952-829-9024 and will be shipped directly to your home.  Additionally, you may order contact lenses at www.walmartcontacts.com

If you are experiencing an eye emergency, please call 952-955-4427 to leave a message for one of the doctors. Messages will be checked Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will re-open when it is safe to do so. We look forward to seeing you when things improve and thank you for your continued support of our practice. Please continue to our website for further information.

Dr. Melissa Viker & Dr. Britt Gustafson

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The Eye Doctors, Inc. COVID-19 Information:

Our clinic closed on March 17th and will remain closed until it is safe to re-open.  Please watch our website and Facebook page for updates.

Urgent or Emergent Eye Concerns

If you have an eye emergency, we are here to help.  Please call 952-955-4427 and one of the doctors will return your call.  The messages are monitored Monday through Saturday between 9 AM and 5 PM.  Eye emergencies include (but are not limited to): eye pain, a recent onset of redness in one or both eyes, flashes of light or sudden onset of new floaters, double vision, and sudden change/worsening of vision in one or both eyes.

Glasses and Contact Lens Orders:

The Wal-Mart Vision Center is open daily at this time from 10 AM to 2 PM and 6 AM to 2 PM on Tuesdays for limited services. The hour of 6 AM to 7 AM on Tuesdays is reserved for senior citizens.  One optician is on duty to provide urgent glasses repairs and adjustments; at this time no new orders for glasses are being accepted. Existing orders of contact lenses and glasses may be picked up from the vision center.  New orders of contact lenses can be placed in store and will be shipped to your home if we do not have the lenses in stock. Additionally, you may order contact lenses at www.walmartcontacts.com

Contact Lens Safety

There is no evidence that contact lens wearers are at greater risk for a Corona Virus infection, per the American Optometric Association Cornea and Contact Lens Section.  Please follow the below tips:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses
  • Avoid using contact lenses if you are ill with any cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Reduce your risk for infection by avoiding sleeping, napping, swimming or showering in contact lenses
  • Replace your contact lens case every 2 months
  • Use fresh contact lens solution each time you store your lenses
  • Do not reuse single-use/daily disposable lenses