Why do I have to get my eyes tested before buying contacts?
Contact lenses are medical products and as such need to be handled with great caution, care and hygiene. Before you put a contact lens in your eye, you need to make sure that you are doing everything properly and that you are not putting your vision at risk. By visiting an eye care specialist, you ensure that you know what contact lenses are best suited for you and that you know how to handle them properly.
To find the right prescription
You should check your eyesight regularly to learn whether you need vision correction or not. Nowadays there are more people who need vision correction than the ones that don't, so you are very likely to be in the first group. Have your eyes tested to learn whether that's the case and if so, what prescription you need. Your eye doctor will asses whether you suffer from short or farsightedness and whether you have astigmatism or presbyopia. Depending on the result of that assessment, he will prescribe you contact lenses or glasses. whichever is going to best suit your needs. Please remember that your prescription for glasses will be different to the one for your contact lenses, this is due to proximity of the lens to the surface of your eye, so remember not to mix them up.
To fit the right size
Prescription is not the only parameter you should know before buying contact lenses, they also come in different sizes. Your eye doctor will fit you with different contacts to see which one feels the most comfortable for you. Your most suitable base curve (BC) and diameter (DIA) are what you need to learn. These two figures are always listed on the box of contacts together. Base curve usually varies from 8.3 to 9.0 and defines how curved the lens is. Diameter varies from 14.0 to 15.0 for regular contacts but you can also buy scleral contact lenses with a diameter of 22mm, which will cover your whole eye.
It's very important to know which BC and DIA are best for you because wearing inappropriately fitted contacts can be dangerous and at the very least, uncomfortable. Contact lenses that are incorrectly sized might injure the surface of your eye, potentially causing an infection. On the other hand, lenses that are too big will tend to roll on your eyes and you won't be able to wear them in the first place. Don't risk losing money and damaging your eyes by wearing poorly fitted contacts - it's not worth it!
To show you how to use them
It is essential to learn how to wear and take care of contact lenses before trying them for the first time. Your eye care specialist is there for you to show you how to put contact lenses in and take them out as well as to instruct you on storing and cleaning them. You can also read this article to clarify any doubts you might have after speaking to your eye doctor.
To summarize, an appointment with your eye care specialist is essential before ordering contact lenses online. They will fit you with contact lenses of the best size and prescription for you and show you how to use them safely. Please remember - don't order contact lenses without knowing all the essentials as opened boxes of lenses cannot be returned.