Advancements in contact lens technology offer the potential for successful contact lens wear to most of our patients. Contact lenses not only enhance visual acuity and appearance but also improve performance in visual tasks and sports.
Because contact lenses are medical devices placed on the eyes, they require expert fitting and careful instruction, as well as conscientious care and compliance with recommended follow-up examination to maintain the healthy functioning of your eyes. To insure your contact lens success, we would like to familiarize you with our contact lens procedures and policies.
The Contact Lens Examination
Before you can be fitted for contact lenses, a complete medical and refractive examination is necessary. This exam is critical to assuring the good health of your eyes and ruling out the possibility of any unsuspected, underlying condition which may prevent contact lens use. If contact lenses are feasible, the complete eye exam will help us select the most appropriate lens material and design.
Contact Lens Fitting
The goal of contact lens fitting is to find the most appropriate contact lens for your optimal comfort and vision. An enormous variety of types, styles, materials, sizes, and colors are offered. We are committed to taking the time and making the effort to fit you properly.
Although many patients need only one contact lens fitting session, some require several appointments. In our experience, the extra time, effort and patience are very worthwhile, both for your ultimate satisfaction and the health of your eyes.
Insertion and Removal Training
During this appointment, our contact lens specialist will provide personalized instruction in the safe care and usage of your new lenses. Should further time be required, we will be happy to schedule an additional session (without charge). Upon completion of a successful insertion and removal session, you may begin wearing your contact lenses and we will schedule your first follow-up appointment.
One or more follow-up appointments will be necessary to assure that your contact lenses continue to fit well and your eyes remain healthy. Charges for follow-up visits during the first 6 months are included in the contact lens fitting fee.
Contact Lens Fitting Policy
The physicians at Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons charge a fitting/follow-up fee that includes the contact lens fitting, a starter lens care kit, insertion and removal lessons, trial lenses if appropriate, and the various visits needed for 6 months.
The fitting/follow-up fee is determined by diagnosis and type of contact lenses needed. We can discuss your lens options and their costs with you in more detail once you have been examined.
Contact us at 301-657-5700 for contact lens fitting fees.
Ordering Contact Lenses
Contact lenses can be ordered any time after a fitting is complete. However, refunds will not be given if your prescription is changed in the future. For your safety, we are not able to refill prescriptions more than 1 year old without another exam. Written prescriptions will be given at the end of the contact lens fitting process and will expire 1 year after your last exam date.
If you are an existing patient, you can reorder your contacts online.
The fitting and follow-up fees are to be paid at the initial fitting appointment. Contact lenses need to be paid for before an order is placed.
If a patient originally fit with one lens requires a change to a more expensive lens, the difference will be charged.
Contact Lens Do’s and Dont’s
- If it’s dirty, don’t wear it.
- If it’s torn, don’t wear it.
- If it feels funny, find out why. Don’t keep wearing it.
- Don’t share with your friends.
- Don’t put it in your mouth.
- Get what fits, not what looks good.
- Don’t wear it for days without cleaning it.
Contact Lens Q & A
Q: Can I wear my sister’s lenses?
A: Contact lenses are available only by prescription for a reason. You need to see your eye doctor to find out if it’s safe for you to wear contact lenses. Even if you’ve already been told it is okay to wear them, there are several good reasons to avoid wearing someone else’s contact lenses. If you are thinking of wearing contact lenses your sister has already worn, forget it! Even if she has disposable lenses, chances are good that your eyes and your sister’s don’t have the same prescription, which means you won’t see properly with her lenses and they could seriously injure you. If you want to try contact lenses, your doctor can easily set you up with a trial pair.
Q: Sometimes my roommate sleeps in his lenses. Is that okay.
A: There are all kinds of contact lenses. Some let more oxygen reach your eye, so they are safer. Unless you are wearing contact lenses designed for continuous wear and your doctor has told you that it is okay to sleep in your lenses, you should not sleep in them. Your eye doctor will prescribe the type of lens and wearing schedule that are best for you and your eye health.
Q: The generic version of my solution is cheaper. They are the same, right?
A: Not really. The packaging might say “Compare to…” (Your brand), but that does not mean they are identical. The composition of generic (store brand) products can change depending on the company the store contracts with to produce it. These subtle formulation differences can affect healthy, comfortable contact lens wear. Serious eye infections caused by certain brands of lens solutions have been in the news recently.
Q: My eyes look so bloodshot. How can I make them look better?
A: Dry, red eyes are never normal. See your eye doctor for a diagnosis. Your doctor can treat these problems – usually without having you stop wearing your lenses – and will find a convenient schedule that fits your lifestyle.
Q: My friend’s doctor says she got an infection because she didn’t handle her lenses properly. What does that mean?
A: Contact lenses are a safe form of vision correction when used as directed. But they are considered medical devices, and improper care of your contact lenses could lead to infection. Hygiene plays a key role in contact lens safety. Contact lens wearers need to keep their hands, contact lens case and lenses clean. Clean your contact lenses immediately after you remove them from your eye, and always clean and disinfect your lenses according to the manufacturer’s directions. Always use fresh solution each time you put the lenses back in the case.”Topping off” is not a healthy practice. Your doctor will tell you how often to replace the case. New ones are available at any pharmacy and often at your doctor’s office. Finally, follow your doctor’s instructions. Replace your contact lenses as often as your doctor prescribes, even if you are using proper hygiene. Don’t wait for your lenses to start to irritate your eyes and”bother” you. The idea is to replace the lenses on a regular basis to help you stay safe, comfortable and seeing great all the time. Always use the solutions your doctor prescribes, too. If you switch solutions, you could experience problems, including lens discomfort.
Q: I think I’m cleaning and disinfecting my lenses correctly, but how would I recognize an infection?
A: As long as you are following your doctor’s instructions, your lenses should be clean, safe and comfortable. But any time you think you may have an eye-related problem, you should remove your contact lenses and call your doctor right away.
These are the symptoms of eye infections:
- Sudden blurred vision
- Red, irritated eyes
- Uncomfortable lenses
- Pain in and around the eyes
Be sure to see your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms and you do not feel better right away after removing your lenses. Infections are easily avoidable and typically minor. If you get one, your doctor will help.
Boarding a plane with your contact lenses?
Planning a trip? Here are some tips for contact lens wearers.
PLAN AHEAD: Pack eye-care needs with the climate and your activities in mind. Allergens, altitude and air quality can all affect your contact lens comfort. Re-wetting drops can help alleviate dryness from the environment.
PACK UP: Your lens care travel kit should include your cleaning and disinfecting solution, re-wetting drops and a spare pair of lenses. Put everything in a separate pocket or container in your luggage.
CARRY ON: The air inside an airplane is very dry. Keep a small bottle of re-wetting drops in your carry-on bag, along with a lens case and your spare eyeglasses. That way, you can refresh your eyes or remove your lenses whenever you want.
FLY AWAY: On board the plane, aim your vents away from your face to keep your eyes from getting dry. And remember to drink water. It’s good for you and your eyes. Finally, if you’re on a long flight, remind yourself to use re-wetting drops frequently. Consider wearing your eyeglasses on any long flight. It can seem like time stands still on a plane, but your eyes know better. Bon Voyage!