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Contact Lens Care And Examination

Jul 23, 2008
If you have a question about your contact lenses, you should contact your fitter.

If you experience redness, blurred vision, pain, or light sensitivity, you should contact your ophthalmologist or optometrist. (If he or she is not allowed by state law to treat eye problems, he or she will refer you to a practitioner who can handle these problems.) Normally, you will need to be seen that day. If you need to seek help, it is best to try to contact your eye doctor during the day, rather than waiting until evening or late at night.

Most ophthalmologists are available 24 hours a day via their answering service. If your ophthalmologist is not available, you should be seen by the ophthalmologist on call, or go to a hospital's emergency room.

Optometrists and opticians may or may not provide 24-hour availability. If not available, you should ask about the routine if a problem develops, especially after regular office or store hours. Many have an ophthalmologist to whom they refer medical problems; others may tell you to go to a hospital's emergency department. Recognize that emergency departments usually do not have an ophthalmologist on site.

Because of the specialized nature of eye examination equipment, contact-lens problems are best handled in the ophthalmologist's office.

Diagnosis and treatment of contact lens problems entail a complete history and an eye examination.

During the history, you are asked questions about your symptoms and how long you have been bothered by these symptoms (for example, light sensitivity, redness, blurred vision). You should also be prepared to tell your eye doctor about the type of contact lenses being worn (soft, gas permeable, or the older hard lenses).

What type of care regimen you use (cleaning, disinfecting, and rinsing solutions). This should include the specific name (manufacturer) of solutions. The type of wear regimen used: daily disposable, weekly overnight wear, or daily wear. How often the lenses are replaced (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly).

The examination of the eye involves checking your vision (with your glasses because you have removed your contact lenses).

If your vision cannot be corrected, your eye doctor may suspect the presence of a serious problem.

Your eye doctor looks into your eye with various types of lights, starting with a flashlight type of instrument and followed by a slit lamp (a microscope to examine the eye with high magnification and different color lights).

Your eye doctor may place a dye called fluorescein on the eye. This makes abrasions and ulcers show up clearly.

With apparently severe infections, cultures of the eye may be taken and sent to the laboratory for evaluation. Depending on the cause of the infection, specific antibiotic eyedrops may be required. Rarely, hospitalization is required.

If you experience irritation, pain, blurred vision, redness, or light sensitivity, immediately remove your contact lenses and re-evaluate your symptoms.

Because you should not wear your contact lenses when experiencing these problems, you should have an up-to-date pair of glasses for these times. With well-fitting contact lenses, you should be able to remove your lenses and see well with your glasses, essentially immediately.

Blurred vision, lasting for hours, upon removal of the contacts is usually a sign of poorly fitting contact lenses. If your vision is blurred, with your glasses, when lenses are removed, notify your fitter.
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