Like regular eyeglasses, contact lenses can correct near or farsightedness and astigmatism, but, unlike regular glasses, they are actually medical devices that sit directly on your eye. "And that," says Moran Eye Center specialist, David Meyer, OD, FAAO, "makes all the difference. Contact lens wearers have to take extra care to ensure that their eyes stay healthy. That's the reason we recommend yearly eye exams by a qualified MD or OD, for those patients."
Finessing the Fit
The process of fitting your contacts can get complicated. "There are tens of thousands of different combinations of diameter, curvature, material—and more—that can affect the way a lens fits on your eye," says Meyer. "I need to evaluate your eye's physiology and visual demands to determine which lens works best for you."
During a yearly exam, your doctor will:
- Ensure the lenses are still the right fit and are not causing damage to your eyes.
- Make sure the lenses are allowing enough oxygen to reach your eyes.
- Let your OD or MD monitor the risk or presence of an eye infection.
- Detect signs of dryness or scarring that can be caused by a poor-fitting lens.
- Evaluate the way the lens interacts with your cornea, eyelids, and tear film to maintain your eye's overall health.
Mark Mifflin, MD, Moran's director of surgical services and the medical director of the Utah Lion's Eye Bank sees several patients each year who have potentially blinding complications from contact lens wear. "Many, many contact lens wearers think they are 'doing fine,' only to discover through an eye exam with a qualified MD or OD provider that they face a potentially serious complication with continued wear.