How to obtain contact lenses

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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:31 pm
Contact lenses require a prescription and can be obtained either from an ophthalmologist (off-thul- MAHL-uh-jist), who is a medical doctor, or an optometrist (op-TOM-uh-trist), a doctor of optometry. Some may have staff members who are opticians or technicians who help fit contact lenses. The most indispensable ingredient for the successful and safe wearing of contact lenses is finding a doctor who provides a good fitting procedure, proper lens selection, and satisfactory follow-up care. This includes a thorough eye examination, an evaluation of your suitability for contact lens wear, the lenses, necessary lens care kits, individual instructions for wear and care, and unlimited follow-up visits over a specified time. The initial visit and examination can take an hour or longer. After the doctor determines whether wearing contacts is a good choice for you, the next decision will be which types of lenses you can wear. With so many different types of contact lenses available today, it's difficult to know which kind to choose. The final choice depends on your vision needs, lifestyle, and budget. Most people can wear more than one type, so it's good to know what the choices are. Your doctor can help you decide which type is best for you, and you can experiment with different designs and materials until you find the one that best suits your needs. Cost may be a factor, but don't base your decision on cost alone. It's important to get the lenses that provide the best vision correction for you and the professional services and follow- up care to help you wear your lenses successfully. You may choose to buy a replacement contact lens from one of a variety of retail sources other than your doctor. However, don't forego seeing your doctor for regular checkups or if you experience any discomfort or problems from your lenses.

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