Before you wear contact lenses for the very first time, ophthalmologists recommend that you have an ophthalmological consult. This consultation is required for the ophthalmologist’s assessment of the eyes and to determine the parameters necessary to fit contact lenses.
What is an ophthalmological consult?
Ophthalmological consultations are a comprehensive examination of the eyes and all its attachments in order to identify any problems. This consultation is only performed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist and involves several steps.
Are the consultations also valid for contact lenses?
By 90%, the prescription for glasses is different from that for contacts lenses. Diopters are the only thing that both controls share in common, but only for values between 3.00 and 3.00.
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What are the stages in an ophthalmology consultation.
1. Interview with the patient to get a history
The medical history serves to give the doctor information necessary for diagnosing various eye conditions.
You will be asked questions about your health, including your age, gender, profession, living and work conditions, and the reason you are presenting to the doctor. These questions will help the doctor to decide the best type of lenses for you.
2. Examen of the eyes at home
This stage involves examining the appendages around the eyeball, including the area of the eyebrows and eyelids.
An eye doctor will conduct a series of tests to assess the pupil’s response to light. They may also check for problems with peripheral vision, eye muscles, or eye motility.
3. Microscopic examinations of the eyes
Microscopic examination examines structures like the cornea, conjunctiva and sclera.
The ophthalmologist may use eye drops to dilate your pupil at this stage. For a better examination of the eye’s internal structures, dilation of the pupil may be necessary. After the consultation, the pupil dilation will decrease within an hour to two hours.
Check the weather before you go to your eye appointment. You can protect your eyes by bringing a pair sunglasses in case the doctor has to dilate your pupils.
By measuring how many tears your eye produces, your doctor can determine if you have dry eyes. Contact lenses might not be the best option if the eye doesn’t produce enough tears. Hydrogel lenses can be used in some cases for dry eyes.
Contact lenses may have already been worn. Your eye doctor will examine your cornea to determine if any abrasions have occurred.
Keratometry, a test that measures the cornea’s curvature, is essential if you want to wear contact lenses.
4. Measuring eye pressure
This is how the eyeball’s internal pressure is determined. For a healthy eye, the tension is measured in millimeters. It is between 10 to 20.
A high eye pressure could indicate a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
5. Measuring refractive errors
Computerized devices are used to measure refractive errors. They determine the dioptre of each eyeball.
6. Visual acuity determination
This popular test measures how clear your eyesight is.
The patient is placed at a distance 5m from the scale and each eye is read separately. The patient’s ability to correctly identify the last row of characters is the measure of visual acuity.
7. Eye examinations in the laboratory
These exams involve complex investigations using specific devices to measure corneal thickness, eye dimensions, corneal topography, aberrometry, corneal topography, OCT (optical coherent tomography), squint angles, and other parameters.
These procedures are only performed following the advice of an ophthalmologist.
It takes less than 45 minutes to have an initial consultation. There are no painful phases or severe discomforts. Contact lenses can usually be worn in one to two office visits.
The consultation ends with a diagnosis and a plan that includes options for treatment or care.
How to determine your eye prescription for contact lens lenses
We need to know these parameters about the eyes after we have done an ophthalmological consult for contact lenses.
It represents the dioptric power and can be represented by the following: PWR, SF or SPH. It can contain values between -35.00 to +35.00
Radius of Curvature (RC BC Radius) – This is a measurement of the curvature of an eye and is in millimeters. It can be between 6.50 to 10.50. The most common radius is 8.60
Diameter (DIA, Diam), – This is the diameter of contact lenses in millimeters. It can be between 12 and 17mm.
Cylinder (CYL – Defines the degree of astigmatism. This value ranges from 0.50 to 0.50 and can be between -2.25 to -0.75.
Axis (AX – Indicates how the cylindrical diopter is oriented in the lens to compensate for astigmatism. It can be between 10 and 180 degrees with increments of 10
Contact lenses are medical devices that are directly applied to the eyes. Patients need to be aware of the materials used to make them.
What happens following an ophthalmology consultation.
To determine which lens fits best, it is recommended that the doctor performs an ophthalmological consult.
Two types of soft contact lenses can be made: hydrogel and silicone-hydrogel. The amount of water in the lenses and the materials used will vary from one manufacturer to the next. Some patients may not be able to tolerate certain materials. It is best to try the lenses on before you buy.
How often should an examination of the eyes be done?
Ophthalmologists recommend that we have an ophthalmological checkup every 2 years, even if we don’t have any vision problems.
For those who have vision problems, the check should be done once a year as the diopters may change. Contact lens wearers are at higher risk for vision problems. Therefore, an eye exam should be part everyone’s routine.
American Optometric Association recommends that patients visit an ophthalmologist not only because of their age but also because they are at risk for developing eye diseases. Patients with eye problems such as diabetes or inflammatory diseases should have an annual consult with the ophthalmologist.
Children learn 80% of their knowledge through their eyes. Children up to the age of two should be seen by an ophthalmologist at least once every six months.
A periodic check is a good idea.
Even if your contacts lenses are working well, it is still a good idea to have an annual exam to check for any diopter changes.
Many eye conditions don’t have obvious symptoms. Patients put off seeking help because they believe their vision is normal. These are the most common conditions that are not obvious and can have severe consequences.
Glaucoma is a condition that irreversibly impairs vision and can cause total vision loss if left untreated.
Macular degeneration is a condition that affects central vision and comes with age.
Diabetic Retinopathy – causes vision loss
All retinal cancers
Cataract – Causes visual disturbances
Diopters are a result of extra strain and effort by our eyes to perform their roles.
The visual acuity testing is used to determine if a child or adult has vision problems and refer them to an eye doctor.
The visual acuity test can be used in high school and in schools. It is also used at driving license exams or routine medical checks at work.
This is usually done by a pediatrician or general practitioner, but it is also possible to do in schools by someone with less experience in diagnosing vision problems.
These tests can make it appear that people who pass the test have no vision problems. They may not be interested in further ophthalmological examinations, and could still have undiagnosed issues.
The testing is limited to distance visual ability only and does not give any indication about the eye’s general health. The test results can also be affected by other factors, such as the lighting in the room, distance between patient and panel, and care given to the equipment.
Consultation for children in the field of ophthalmology
Early detection of vision problems can help you get the treatment you need. Children are more likely to see a doctor if they have refractive issues.
The doctor may recommend that children who are more at risk for developing eye disease should be examined annually or more frequently as necessary. These risk factors include premature birth, very low birthweight, family history, congenital eye disease, congenital and metabolic diseases, as well as infections during pregnancy (rubella, herpes).