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Contact lens exams

What to expect at your contact lens eye exam & fitting

Whether you already wear contact lenses or are considering contacts for the first time, you may wonder why you need a separate eye exam, especially if you already have a prescription for eyeglasses.

Contact lens exams include additional tests just for contact lens wearers. These tests make sure you’re prescribed the right type of contacts, and that wearing contact lenses isn’t hurting your eye health.

Contact lens exams performed by a licensed optometrist are available at all Wisconsin Vision locations.

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Contact lens exams in Wisconsin

How contact lens exams work

Contact lens eye exams begin like regular eye exams: your eye doctor checks your eyes for any possible health issues and tests your vision. Contact lens exams also include detailed eye measurements to determine the size and type of contacts you need, as well as a lens fitting and evaluation.

Your overall health, unique eye anatomy, history of contact lens use, and other factors will determine which specific tests are included in your contact lens exam. In general, a contact lens eye exam may include:

Corneal topography during contact lens fitting Corneal topography

Biomicroscope used in contact lens exam Biomicroscopy

Measuring the pupil and iris in a contact lens fitting Pupil & iris measurement

Evaluating the tear film during a contact lens exam Tear film evaluation

How often do you need a contact lens exam?

Adults and children who wear contact lenses should have a contact lens exam once a year, or as recommended by a doctor.

Why regular contact lens exams & fittings are important:

If you notice any problems with your eyes or contact lenses, don’t wait for your scheduled annual exam. Always contact your eye doctor if you’re having issues with your vision or with how your lenses fit.

  • Cost of a contact lens exam & fitting

The price of a contact lens exam at Wisconsin Vision can vary depending on the number of tests needed, and how many follow-up visits are required to achieve a comfortable fit.

Contact lens exams cost more than routine eye exams because of extra tests, measurements, and evaluations to match you with the right type and size of contact lenses.

  • CareCredit for contact lens exams

You can use your CareCredit credit card to pay for contact lens exams, follow-up fittings, and contact lenses at all Wisconsin Vision locations. Find info about our CareCredit terms, plus a payment calculator and link to apply online.

  • Vision insurance for contact lens exams

Vision insurance coverage can also affect the out-of-pocket cost of a contact lens fitting. In general, insurance providers consider contact lenses optional and not medically necessary, so fitting fees usually aren’t covered.

Some providers cover medically necessary contact lenses, and some cover part of a contact lens fitting fee. In other cases, you’re able to use part of your plan’s contact lens allowance to offset the fitting fee. We provide free insurance coverage checks so you can understand your plan and avoid surprise costs.

You can also get a contact eye exam and contacts without insurance.

Why can’t I use my eyeglass prescription for contact lenses?

Eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions are very different. With glasses, your corrective lenses sit about 10-15 millimeters away from your eye, while contact lenses rest directly on the surface of the eye.

Both types of prescriptions include lens power and magnifying power. Contact lens prescriptions include individual eye measurements for a perfect fit.

  • Base curve measurement for contact lens prescription

    Base curve measurement

    is how much the back (inside) of the contact lens needs to curve to fit your cornea properly.
  • Measuring eye for correct diameter of contact lenses


    determines the size of your contacts, which varies depending on the type of contact lens you wear.
  • Contact lens brands and materials

    Lens brand (or material)

    are specified in the prescription.
Contact eye exam vs routine eye exam

How to prepare for a contact lens fitting

Plan on your exam taking longer than a regular eye exam.

  • Ask for a benefits check (if you have vision insurance) so you’ll know what to expect for out-of-pocket costs. 
  • If you have prescription glasses or contact lenses, bring them to your appointment.
  • If you’ve never worn contacts before, or if you’re seeing a new eye doctor for the first time, be prepared to answer questions about your medical history and lifestyle.
  • Jot down any questions or concerns you have about contact lenses, so you don’t forget to ask them during your appointment.
  • If you want colored contact lenses, this is the time to bring it up! For the safety of your eyes and vision, always get colored contacts through an eye doctor, not a general retailer.
What to expect at a contact lens exam

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a contact lens exam cost?

A contact lens exam price can vary depending on the number of tests needed, and how many follow-up visits are required to achieve a comfortable fit. For a more accurate quote, please contact your local Wisconsin Vision.

Does a contact lens exam include an eye exam?

Yes, contact lens exams begin similar to a regular eye exam, with a vision check and eye health examination. Eye measurements and contact lens fitting occur afterward as a part of the contact lens exam.

Do you need a contact lens exam if you're currently wearing glasses?

Yes, contact lens exams include specialized tests just for contacts. Because contacts sit on the surface of your eye, instead of glasses sitting in front of your eyes, your prescription may differ.

How often should I get a contact lens exam?

Generally for children and adults, getting a contact lens exam once a year is recommended. Regular follow-ups with your eye doctor reduce the risk of potential eye irritation caused by problematic contacts. If your contacts are irritating or are painful to place or remove, schedule a contact lens exam with a licensed optometrist at Wisconsin Vision.

How can I prepare for a contact lens exam?

Bring your contact lenses or glasses to the appointment if they are being worn. Expect the contact lens exam to take longer than a regular eye exam, due to lens fitting and testing. Be prepared to ask questions or receive training if you've never worn contacts before. Get a good night's sleep. Bring any insurance documentation

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