The Contact Lens Corner
We are very proud to be one of the largest suppliers of contact lenses in Northern Virginia-- with thousands of different lenses in stock at all times.
In many ways, contact lenses are the next best thing to having perfect vision. Contacts lenses provide more natural vision than eyeglasses. They provide a wider field of view and move with your eyes for better peripheral vision. With contact lenses, you don't have to worry about your glasses getting knocked off or smudged. Contacts lenses don't fog up when you perspire or come in from the cold. And they don't get splattered by rain!
Today more people than ever can wear contact lenses. There are contact lenses for astigmatism. Contacts for people who need bifocals. Contacts that can change the color of your eyes. Even contact lenses that block harmful UV rays from the sun.
Hard/Gas Permeable Lenses
So, you've just had your eyes examined and your eye doctor has given you a prescription. Can you use it to get contact lenses? The answer is "probably not". The prescription you receive at the end of your exam is typically for eyeglasses only. An accurate prescription for contact lenses can only be issued after several steps are taken that are not included in a routine eye exam. If you are interested in contact lenses, be sure to let your doctor's office know at the time you schedule your appointment and they will set up a contact lens fitting in addition to your eye exam.
The contact lens fitting involves precise measurements of the curvature of the front surface of your eye with an instrument called a keratometer. This gives your doctor a starting point for determining the proper curve and size for your contact lenses. Contact lenses that are too flat or too steep for the shape of your eyes will be uncomfortable and/or can cause damage to the front surface of the eye, the cornea. Your contact lens fitting may also include additional computerized measurements that let your doctor see the curve of the entire front surface of your eyes.
Many contact lens fittings include an evaluation of the tear film on the front of your eyes. If your eyes are extremely dry, contact lenses may not be for you. If your eyes are marginally dry, some contact lenses work better than others. If your eyes are dry, you should moisten them frequently with artificial tears. Your doctor will also carefully evaluate the health of the cornea with an instrument called a biomicroscope (also called a "slit lamp"). This is to insure there are no other problems that could make contact lens wear difficult for you. It also provides your doctor a baseline from which he can monitor any changes to your eyes from contact lens wear.
Next, trial lenses may be applied to your eyes and evaluated with the biomicroscope to judge the fit of the lenses and how much they move with each blink. This step is also done at each follow-up visit in the fitting process. Lenses that appear to fit properly when first applied can change after several hours of wear. Reevaluating the fit of your lenses several times is essential to ensure your lenses continue to fit properly and cause no adverse effects to the cornea.
Finally, a review of how long to wear your lenses and how to care for them is an important part of the contact lens fitting. After your doctor has made sure your lenses fit properly, provide satisfactory vision and comfort, and are causing no harm to your eyes, your contact lens prescription can be finalized. It includes contact lens power (often slightly different than spectacle lens power), contact lens base curve, and diameter.
Follow-up Exams and Replacement Contact Lenses
After your contact lens fitting is complete,
you should have your eyes and contact lenses examined at least once per
year. If you choose to purchase replacement lenses from a source other
than where you received your contact lens fitting, be aware that you still
need to have your eyes examined at least once per year. All contact lenses
(no matter how well they fit or how new the are) reduce the amount of oxygen
to the cornea and increase your risk for eye infections. Annual exams by
an eye doctor are important to maintain the health of your eyes and avoid
unnecessary complications from contact lens wear.
Contact Lens Insurance
Contacts are small, transparent and made of plastic. Just their physical attributes make them very susceptible to being lost or torn. And they can become costly to replace frequently. That is the driving force behind our decision to offer this economical program. With this insurance, your small annual premium is usually paid for if you need to purchase just one lens. And you can use it purchase a back-up lens for emergencies or for traveling. It is just another example of how we try to create value for our patients.