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What's the difference between an eye exam and a contact lens exam?

Dr. Michelle Calder-Cardwell is the owner and lead optometrist at Urban Optiques Vision & Eyewear in Northville, MI.

Whether you wear glasses or contacts, it's a good idea to get a yearly eye exam to see if you have new or existing vision problems, and if you need vision correction.

A comprehensive eye exam is an important part of caring for your overall health whether you need vision correction or not. By looking into your eyes, your doctor can check for signs of serious health conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your VSP doctor will look for signs of glaucoma, perform tests to check your vision sharpness, determine your prescription strength, examine how your eyes work together, and check the fluid pressure in your eyes. She may also dilate your eyes to see if you have any eye conditions or signs of other serious health conditions.

If you want contacts, your doctor will give you a standard eye exam and some other tests to fit you for contacts. The first test will measure your eye surface to determine what size and type of contacts are best for you. Your doctor may also do a tear film evaluation to make sure you have enough tears to comfortably wear contacts.

Then, you'll need to decide whether you want disposable contacts or extended wear, and if you want your contacts to be colored.

Your doctor will fit you with a trial pair of contacts and have you wear them for a few days. In about a week, you'll need a follow-up exam to make sure you have adjusted to your new lenses.