Should I Wear Contacts to an Eye Exam?

Should I Wear Contacts to an Eye Exam?

by Brian Chou, OD, FAAO, FSLS

  • May 10, 2023

If you wear contact lenses, should you wear them to your eye exam? There is conflicting information online. But below is universal guidance. Ultimately, each clinic has their own preference. To be sure, ask a representative where you will have your eye exam.

Wear Your Contacts for an Updated Contact Lens Prescription

If you desire an updated contact lens prescription, your eye care professional needs to evaluate contact lenses on your eyes to properly assess for any changes for an optimal outcome. These desirable services are separate and in addition to what gets performed during routine examination. This is why you need to indicate if you wish for your eye care professional to perform contact lens services prior to booking your eye appointment. That way, adequate chair time gets allocated for you.

Can I Get My Prescription Updated Without Wearing Contacts to the Exam?

If you wear common soft disposable contact lenses, your eye care clinic may have diagnostic lenses on hand to evaluate on your eyes. Since it takes staff time to maintain the diagnostic lens inventory, you may incur additional fees for contact lens service when you do not wear in your habitual contact lenses. If you are new to an eye care clinic, make sure you bring in the boxes or blister packs corresponding to your contact lenses. That way, your eye doctor knows exactly what is on your eye when contact lens evaluation is performed. If you do not bring in your contact lenses with known parameters and if the eye clinic does not have the needed diagnostic lenses on hand, your eye care practitioner may order diagnostic contact lenses for evaluation on your eyes during a return visit.

If you wear more esoteric contact lenses including custom lenses for eye disease, including scleral contact lenses, it is even more valuable that you come into the exam wearing your lenses – or at least bringing them with you in a contact lens case. Doing this can save you an extra trip. Since custom contact lenses have a complex multitude of specifications, your eye care clinic may request a transfer of contact lens parameters from your prior prescribing eye doctor to generate an up-to-date contact lens prescription for you.

What Happens If You Don’t Undergo Contact Lens Prescribing?

If you do not undergo contact lens service, you will not have a valid contact lens prescription to fill the ensuing year. While you can schedule contact lens prescribing at a separate examination, you may incur even higher out-of-pocket costs versus if you had contact lens evaluation and prescribing services performed during your routine examination. If you intend to continue wearing contact lenses, it is always a good idea to have a valid contact lens prescription on hand. That way, you are not left in a lurch if you run out of contacts.

ReVision Optometry is a referral-based practice in San Diego providing scleral contact lens services for patients with keratoconus and other complex eye conditions. To schedule an appointment, request your examination online or call our office at 619.299.6064.