What happens in a contact lens fitting session?

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Contact lenses have revolutionised vision correction, offering a world of comfort, convenience and freedom from the constraints of glasses. The journey towards clear vision starts with a proper contact lens fitting. During a contact lens fitting the optician will evaluate your eye health, assesses the quality of your tears, and take precise measurements of your eyes. Your optician will then discuss with you factors like your lifestyle and preferences to help select the most suitable lenses for you. Poorly fitted lenses could impair your vision and impact your daily activities. This fitting process, conducted by qualified opticians, ensures that contact lenses are fitted correctly and are suitable for the wearer.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of a contact lens fitting, the benefits and risks, and why it's important to seek expert guidance.

What is the process of contact lens fitting?

A contact lens fitting involves three steps:

  1. An eye test.
  2. Lens fitting session.
  3. Trial session and follow up appointment.

An eye test

An eye test evaluates your eye health and determines your prescription.

Our in-house contact lens optician, Tina Patel, answers some of the most-asked questions on having an eye test in the video below. Let’s hear it from her.

Lens fitting session

After your eye test, a contact lens fitting appointment is scheduled. Measurements such as corneal curvature and pupil size are required to customise the lenses to your eyes' unique features.

The contact lens optician will discuss your lifestyle, preferences and prescription needs. They will help you select the most suitable type of contact lenses, whether soft, rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, toric lenses for astigmatism, or multifocal contact lenses for presbyopia.

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How long is a contact lens fitting?

The time for a contact lens fitting can vary. In a regular high street practice, the optician is allocated 20-25 minutes to complete the fitting, but the whole process may take up to 90 minutes. The time can vary from practice to practice, for new or existing wearers, and from one optician to another.

Trial session and follow up appointment

Once the optician has selected suitable lenses, the fitting process begins. Trial lenses will be placed on your eyes to check how well they fit, move and feel.

What are trial lenses?

Trial lenses are temporary lenses that help you decide which one is best for your eyes. Since everyone's eyes are different, you may need to try a few before finding the right ones.

The optician may adjust these trial lenses or try different ones until they meet fitting requirements. Once the initial fitting is successful, you'll receive detailed instructions on how to put in your lenses, remove them and maintain proper lens hygiene.

How do I know if my contacts fit correctly?

When contacts are fitted correctly, they’ll rest securely on your eyes and should remain stable throughout the day. Vision should be consistent and not fluctuate while blinking. When you first put on the lens, any discomfort should go away within a few minutes.

Signs that contact lenses don't fit well include:

  • Discomfort after blinking
  • Vision changes throughout the day
  • Dry or watery eyes

A well-fitted contact lens is essential for overall eye health.

What will a poorly fitted contact lens most commonly result in?

A poorly fitted contact lens can make your eyes feel uncomfortable or irritated and may even cause redness. Using badly fitted lenses could damage the surface of the eye (cornea) and even result in eye infections.

A girl wearing contact lenses

It is very important to get your lenses fitted by a qualified optician to lower these risks.

Pro tip: Remember to have regular eye check-ups to monitor your eye health and the effectiveness of your lenses. If you experience discomfort, vision changes or unusual symptoms, contact your optician immediately. If symptoms worsen or if you are in an emergency situation, you should visit your local A&E immediately.

Why is expert advice crucial when it comes to contact lenses?

Seeking expert advice is essential for learning how to properly insert, remove, clean and store your lenses, which is crucial for maintaining good eye health.

Only qualified eye care professionals should select and fit contact lenses, as they can assess your eye health and determine the most suitable lenses for your specific needs.

What happens after a contact fitting?

After your first visit, your optician will advise you to wear your contact lenses for a trial period to assess the comfort of the trial lenses. For daily disposable lenses, the trial may last 5-10 days and for monthly lenses, it could be 2-3 weeks. You will be asked to return for a follow-up appointment where the optician will perform tests to assess the lens fitting and check how well you can see. They will also want to know how you got on with the lenses, so it is important to give your feedback. If all goes well at the appointment, you will be issued a copy of your contact lens prescription.

Good news is…

When you shop for your contact lenses at Feel Good Contacts, you will receive a comprehensive "Optical Aftercare" email after purchasing your lenses. The healthcare advice e-mail includes basic information and instructions, eye test reminders, lens hygiene and proper handling and guidance on dealing with emergencies.

Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace medical care or an in-person check-up. Please check with an eyecare professional before purchasing any products or remedies. For information on our article review process, please refer to our Editorial Policy.

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