Why do I need two different eye exams for glasses and contacts?

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Glasses and Contacts seperate eye exams

Glasses & Contacts Exams at Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center

Do You Need Different Exams for Eyeglasses and Contacts?

You’re probably aware that you should see an optometrist once a year to check the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision, but you want contact lenses, a routine eye exam isn’t enough. There is a difference between eyeglasses exams and contact lens exams, and understanding that difference will save you time and money.

What Is a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

During a comprehensive eye exam, an optometrist will test your visual acuity using an eye chart, and will also perform tests to assess your eye health. This is also when the optometrist will decide if you need prescription eyewear to correct your vision.

Ultimately, if you would prefer to only wear eyeglasses instead of contacts, that’s a decision that’s largely aesthetic in nature. That said, there are differences in prescriptions for eyeglasses and contacts that lead to the need for two separate exams.

The Difference Between Contacts and Eyeglasses

If you plan to wear contacts, you’ll need a separate eye exam. While a contact lens exam can usually be performed at the same time as your routine eye exam, they are two different things.

The main difference – and thus the need for two different exams – is that the prescriptions for contacts differ from the prescriptions for eyeglasses. Contacts are placed directly on the eye, while glasses sit a little more than 12 millimeters away. This seemingly minor difference requires different prescription strengths for each type of corrective eyewear.

What Is a Contact Lens Exam?

During a contact lens exam, your optometrist will evaluate the size and shape of your eye to find a lens that fits your eye comfortably. The eye doctor might also check for any specific eye health problems that would impact the comfort of the lenses in your eye.

An eye exam for contacts will include cornea measurements, where your optometrist will determine the proper size and curve of your contacts, pupil and iris measurements so the contacts fit well on your eyes, and a tear film evaluation. If you have a dry eye condition, your optometrist will recommend special contacts for dry eyes.

After the exam, your optometrist will give you several different brands of contacts – all of which will be your correct prescription –  to try on in the office, so you can determine which ones are the most comfortable. Once you decide on a comfortable brand and lens, your optometrist will write you a prescription.

How Much Does a Contact Lens Exam Cost?

If you wear contacts, your annual eye exams will typically cost more than an exam for someone who only wears eyeglasses, due to the additional tests. The exact cost will depend on the doctor you see. Like eyeglasses prescriptions, most prescriptions for contacts expire one or two years after your eye exam and contact fitting, so don’t forget to follow up with an annual eye exam. You should have a routine eye exam annually to support the long-term health of your eyes.

Contact Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center

Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center offers eye exams for both eyeglasses and contacts, as well as routine exams to maintain the health of your vision. To schedule an appointment, contact Windsor Eye Care & Vision Center by phone or online.


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