How do I get Contacts?
Following your complete eye exam with refraction (the test to determine your glasses prescription), the technician will take other measurements of your eye to determine which contact lenses will work best for you. You will be provided a “trial” pair of lenses to wear for a week or two and then return to determine if the fit is correct for you. According to Washington State law, in order for your contact lens prescription to be valid, your eye care practitioner must see the contact on your eye after you have worn it for a period of time.
You may have to return for reevaluation several times if the trial lens is not fitting as well as the doctor feels it should be. In this case, a new trial lens could be ordered for you to try again. If your eye looks healthy, you see well and the lenses fit and move appropriately, we can order your final contact lenses for you or provide your contact lens prescription to fill at the retailer that is most convenient for you.
We specialize in fitting more challenging eyes. There are many conditions that can make it difficult to fit contact lenses, including the following:
- Post corneal transplant
- Post LASIK ectasia
- Dry eyes
- Presbyopia (the need for reading glasses as we age)
Some of these conditions require rigid, gas permeable (GP) lenses. Due to the irregular shape and curvature of the front surface of the cornea in patients with conditions such as keratoconus, glasses or conventional soft lenses may not be able to correct vision. With the advances in technology over the last few years, our patients with irregular corneas now have many options to correct their vision, including the following:
- Gas permeable (GP) contact lenses: the rigid lens creates an even surface and the tear film fills in underneath the lens, masking irregularities in the
cornea. This is the traditional, and most common, way to correct vision problems with keratoconus and other corneal irregularities
- Piggybacking: This is a two-lens system where a soft contact is worn underneath a gas permeable lens. This helps protect the cornea from mechanical
irritation. It can improve comfort by acting as a cushion between the cornea and the rigid lens.
- Hybrid contact lenses: These lenses are a hybrid of soft and rigid lenses. They consist of a rigid lens surrounded by a soft lens periphery, or “skirt”. This provides the excellent optics and vision of a hard lens, while the soft “skirt” provides increased comfort.
- Scleral contact lenses: A large diameter lens that rests on the sclera (the white part of the eye), completely vaulting over the cornea. The large size can be intimidating, but once inserted these lenses often have superior comfort when compared to traditional gas permeable lenses. The edges of the lens are tucked up underneath the eyelids and there is no rubbing on the cornea, which decreases lens awareness. They do not fall out and dust can not get underneath them, also increasing comfort.
It is extremely important to have a specialty contact lens that fits the cornea properly to ensure good corneal health. For this reason an average of four to five visits are required to complete a specialty fitting process. After a specialty contact lens fitting is complete it is not uncommon to follow up with
your doctor twice a year until your corneal condition is stable. If you have any questions or think you may be a candidate for a specialty contact lens, please contact our office for more information.
We are members of VSP, Group Health, and many other plans and are happy to bill your insurance should you have a contact lens benefit. We can order them for you to pick up at any of our locations for your convenience.
We at Cascadia Eye are proud to be the only full-service eye care center in Skagit County. If you would like to learn more about contact lenses, or if you would like to schedule a contact lens fitting, please feel free to contact us!