What Is the Difference Between an Eye Exam and a Contact Lens Exam?

Most people with eyeglasses have gone through regular eye exams at the eye doctor's office. These tests help the eye doctor determine visual and prescription issues. However, eye exams cannot prescribe contact lenses. Contact lenses need a specific series of tests to help the eye doctor determine what type of contacts you can wear. 


Let us look at the two series of tests and what they comprise.



Eye Exams



Eye exams are tests that eye doctors use to check for eye diseases and evaluate visual abilities. It involves several instruments and exercises that test for different aspects of vision. The eye doctor performs eye exams when they want to detect eye issues early and treat them. People should have regular eye exams so that if any eye conditions arise, they can manage them effectively. 



What Tests Are in an Eye Exam?



Different types of eye tests in an eye exam differ significantly from contact lens exam tests. Here are a few standard tests you may receive in an eye exam.



Eye Muscle Test



In this test, the eye doctor looks for weaknesses or abnormalities in muscles that control the eyes. They will usually ask you to follow a light with your eyes while they observe. 



Visual Acuity Test



A visual acuity test measures the clarity of your vision through some exercises. The eye doctor will ask you to read letters off a chart at a certain distance. Eye doctors will often test each eye individually and then both simultaneously. During this test, the eye doctor will also check your near and distant vision.



Color Vision Test



A color vision test helps the eye doctor determine if you have issues recognizing specific colors. You may have noticed that you struggle to identify specific colors in real life. It could be indicative of a color deficiency in your vision.


This test utilizes multicolored charts with dot patterns. If you do not have a problem with color, you will distinguish shapes and numbers in the patterns. If you have a color deficiency, you will see some colors and fail to see some. 



Slit-lamp Test



A slit-lamp test is an instrument the eye doctor uses to examine several parts of your ocular structure. A microscope uses a bright light on the front of your eye. The eye doctor can examine your cornea, the fluid between the cornea and iris, and other things.



Contact Lens Exam



Contact lens exams involve tests whose main objective is to find the right contacts for you. Some of the tests are:



Cornea Measurements



Depending on the cornea's curvature, it helps determine what type of lens you need. It will also help identify if you have astigmatism.



Iris and Pupil Measurements



This test is also meant to help the eye doctor find a contact lens that will fit well on your eye.



Tear Film Test



This test helps the eye doctor determine if you have dry eye syndrome. If you do, the eye doctor will recommend a specialty contact lens.


For more on eye exams and contact lens exams, visit Beach Cities Optometry at our office in Manhattan Beach, California. Call (310) 906-4426 to book an appointment today.

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