Contact lens fit & eye exam

Dr. Cannon performs a contact lens exam for a patient considering switching to contacts

If you need glasses to sharpen your vision, you can almost certainly wear contact lenses.  The doctors at Cannon EyeCare fit healthy contact lenses and encourage our patients to use them in a responsible manner.  When you wear a prosthetic lens on the front of your eye, you might as well wear it in a healthy manner.

A contact lens eye exam will provide you with all the health checks described in the Routine Eye Exam for Glasses, plus you will have a contact lens fitting.  Washington state law requires that all patients have their eye health checked prior to being fit in contacts, so it is not legal (or safe) to do a contact lens fitting alone without an eye exam.

Your eye doctor will likely look at your current lenses on your eye to see how they fit.  If possible wear your current contact lenses in to the office, and bring documentation of what they are (brand and power) to your appointment.  Giving your doctor data on what you have now and how well it works can assist them in finding the optimal lenses for your eyes.

There are always new contact lens designs and materials coming out, so there may be some discussion of a switch – even if you like your current lens.  As a general rule though the eye doctors at Cannon EyeCare will keep you in your current lens as long as it is a healthy option and you are happy with it.  We have to perform extra testing to evaluate your contact lens powers and the fit (how the lens interacts with your eye).  Even if your contact lens Rx is unchanged from last year, there will be a fee for contact lens evaluation.

Spherical contact lens fits utilize single vision lenses without astigmatism on both eyes and are relatively straightforward most of the time, so our fee is just $80.  Toric contact lens fits utilize more complex lenses to focus the light in an eye with astigmatism.  Toric contact lens fits are usually $95, or $120 if we need to utilize specialty lenses.  Multifocal or monovision contact lens fits are also rather complex and may require a follow up or two to get things dialed in, so the fee for that is $120.  Your vision insurance may or may not cover contact lens fits.

You may be wondering what is involved in an eye exam and contact lens fitting. At Cannon EyeCare, your doctor will likely perform most of the following tests.

  • Visual acuity testing – a way to precisely determine how well you see at the start of the eye exam. Do you see 20/20 at distance and near with your contacts?  If so, great!  If not, we will see if we can dial things in for you.
  • Cover Test – a key test for ocular muscle imbalance that can lead to serious problems like double vision, a lack of stereo vision, and can even cause amblyopia (Lazy Eye).
  • Side Vision Test – when looking straight ahead, can you see pretty well way over to the left and right? How well do you see things in your side vision? This testing can turn up issues caused by health issues such as optic neuritis, stroke, glaucoma, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Auto-Refractor – this device utilizes an image of a hot air balloon at the end of a country highway to measure the refractive status of your eyes when they are relaxed. The data we get from this test serves as a starting point for refraction.
  • Auto-Keratometry – this computerized test determines if your cornea is spherical like a marble or warped like an egg (astigmatic). This can help the doctor dial in the astigmatism in your glasses prescription, which may in turn lead to a toric contact lens Rx.
  • Air Puff Test – this test is an important health screener for glaucoma. We do not puff air into patient’s eyes just to watch them flinch; eye doctors do this to determine the pressure inside of your eye.  Elevated eye pressure is a leading risk factor for developing glaucoma – so eye pressure is measured at every eye health exam we do at Cannon EyeCare.  This data can also be measured using eye drops in a procedure called Goldman Tonometry Applanation.  Most patients prefer the air puff by a long shot.
  • Refraction – this is the old “one-or-two test’ that optometrists are kind of famous for. We will show you a number of lens options to focus in on the optimal lens power for your glasses (and contacts).  The process of showing different lens options to the patient and getting their input allows us to dial in your prescription in a stepwise manner.
  • Eye Health Exam – this is where the eye doctor will use a specialized microscope-like device called a ‘Slit Lamp’ to examine your eyes. We will check the health of your lids, conjunctiva, sclera, cornea, lens, vitreous, optic nerve head, and macula at every annual exam.   Patients will be informed of any findings that are not within normal limits.
  • Dilation – the doctors at Cannon EyeCare try hard to strike a balance here. There are some practices that dilate every patient every year – which is overkill in our professional opinion.  Dilation is not really that much fun for patients and the retinas of healthy eyes in healthy people don’t typically change quickly.  Dilating patients at every annual eye exam unnecessarily inconveniences the patient with the unpleasant side effects of dilation (blurred vision and light sensitivity for 3-5 hours) more often than is really necessary.Conversely, there are some practices that almost never dilate patients.  All these docs seem to care about is getting patients out to the optical quickly so they can sell another pair of glasses.  This mode of practice is at the opposite extreme is also not reasonable; pathology can easily be missed if you don’t look for it periodically.  The eye doctors at Cannon EyeCare tend to dilate normal healthy patients every three to four years in attempt to strike a reasonable balance between these two extremes.
  • Summary of eye exam/ conclusion. Like any good book writer, we strive to wrap things up in a concise manner at the end.   Your optometrist will likely touch base on the issues you had discussed at the start of your visit.  Any relevant exam findings – refractive or eye-health related- will be discussed and any interventions clearly explained.   You will also likely be told when we plan to see you back, which is typically in one year for your annual contact lens exam.  Other patients may be seen again sooner if they need follow up for their contact lens fit or for eye health reasons.
  • Invoice/ Billing. If you would like documentation of your visit’s billing notes, we can easily print that for you.  The eye doctors at Cannon EyeCare strive to be very upfront about expected exam and contact lens fitting fees.  If they learn during an eye exam that an eyelash is pointed at your cornea and causing problems, they will discuss the finding and the fix (pulling the lash, known as Epilation).  They will give you an estimated cost for said procedure and try to predict if insurance would pay for it prior to actually pulling the lash.  See below for insurance info.
  • Insurance. We are in network with the major local health insurance companies.  Cannon EyeCare does not accept any 3rd party vision plans such as VSP due to unreasonable contractual stipulations.

INSURANCE WE TAKE

  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Regence Blue Shield
  • Regence Group Administrators
  • Lifewise
  • United Health
  • Group Health’s PPO plans
  • HMA: Health Management Associates
  • Bridgespan
  • Asuris
  • Out of state BC/Blue Shield (routine vision exams typically not covered)

INSURANCE WE DON’T TAKE

  • VSP: Vision Service Plan
  • EyeMed
  • Spectera
  • Davis
  • Cigna
  • Aetna
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • First Choice Health