Contact Lens Evaluation
If you are interested in trying contacts or you already wear them and want to have your contact lens prescription renewed or updated, make sure you let us know this when you schedule your appointment for an eye exam. This will ensure that we schedule your exam to include extra time for Dr. Neff to perform the additional tests required for a proper contact lens evaluation (also known as a contact lens fitting).
DID YOU KNOW that the state of South Carolina has determined that you must have a valid, unexpired contact lens prescription for contacts to be dispensed and that prescription is valid for 12 months (SC Code Section 37 Chapter 25)?
Contact lenses are medical devices that can only be dispensed by a prescription. They must be regarded with the same caution you would use for prescription drugs, which include prescription expiration dates and follow-up visits as determined by Dr. Neff. Your contact lens prescription will include the power of your contact lenses, the type (brand and material) of contact lenses you wear, the shape of the contact lenses (curvature) and any other information determined by the doctor to be necessary for a proper contact lens fit. Your eyes go through gradual changes in size, shape and physiological requirements (such as oxygen) while wearing contact lenses. These changes can affect the health of the cornea and need to be monitored at least every year. There are many factors in choosing the best contact lens for each patient, and things can change in as little as a few months.
- What if you are new to contacts? If you are new to wearing contacts, following your contact lens evaluation with Dr. Neff, you will be provided with personalized instruction concerning the safe care and usage of contact lenses by one of our technicians. You will be taught the most common methods to insert and remove your contacts. This session usually lasts 20-30 minutes. If additional time is needed, it will be necessary to schedule a second 30-minute training session at a different time. Upon completion of successful insertion and removal, the patient may leave the office with the trials and begin wearing the contact lenses. This insertion and removal training is a one-time cost of $20 and is not covered by insurance.
- What if your contact lens prescription hasn’t changed? Dr. Neff cannot determine that it has not changed until she evaluates your prescription and the health of your cornea to ensure they still fit well and are not causing any eye damage. Your contact lenses can actually cause problems with your corneal and/or conjunctival health if you have been misusing or over-wearing the lenses in some way. These problems may not even cause pain or symptoms in the beginning but can cause serious trouble in the long run. Dr. Neff will check for signs of damage to your eyes and lids being caused by contact lens misuse, abuse and perhaps even compliant contact lens wear and then adjust modality, contact lens material, your wearing time or lens regimen accordingly. Your tear film will also be monitored to determine if contact lenses are still a suitable vision option for you.
Lifestyle, vision needs, measurements, and the condition/health of your eyes will all be taken into consideration when Dr. Neff determines a good contact lens for you. Contact lens technology has evolved rapidly and with today's variety of contact lenses, there are new and better lenses for just about everyone. Dr. Neff will fit you with a trial pair of contacts and have you wear them for a few days to see how they work for you in your typical life situations. She will instruct you to follow-up in 3-5 days with feedback for her. If these contacts are great, she will finalize your chart with your new prescription so that you can now order contacts! If they are not quite what you need, let the staff know what the issues are (comfort issues, too strong, trouble seeing road signs, trouble seeing computer, seeing double, etc) so Dr. Neff can determine what to have you try next or if you she needs to see you in the chair again. Do not become discouraged if you have to try several sets of trials, some prescriptions are more challenging than others. Individuals with astigmatism or those needing multifocal or monovision fits may require several attempts to determine the optimal prescription. Dr. Neff prefers to have the prescription determined within 30 days of your vision exam so do not wait to call us if you have problems! If we do not hear from you, Dr. Neff will finalize your chart within 30 days and any changes to your contacts after that will require a new contact evaluation which you have to pay out of pocket!
While contact lenses can be a great alternative for those who do not want to wear glasses full or part time, it is important to keep in mind that although you may be a candidate for contact lenses, they may not be the answer for your visual needs. After giving it a shot if you determine that contact lenses will not work for you, remember that Dr. Neff has already performed the contact lens services so the contact lens evaluation cannot be refunded.
Cost of Your Contact Lens Evaluation
It is difficult to determine the cost of your evaluation until Dr. Neff has seen you. The prices for most disposable contact lens evaluations range from $60 to $100. RGP (Rigid Gas Permiable), medically necessary fits, and Ortho-K (CRT) cost much more.
Insurance and Contact Lenses
Most insurances consider the wearing of contact lenses a luxury, not a necessity, and therefore cover little when it comes to contact lens fittings. Due to certain eye conditions such as keratoconus, your contact lens may be considered medically necessary. Those contacts and fittings often fall into a different category of insurance and may be covered differently by your insurance.