If you wear contact lenses, it’s essential to have regular corneal evaluations to ensure that your eyes are getting enough oxygen and to detect any potential problems before they become more severe.
Below we explore what corneal evaluations are, what tests are involved, and why they are crucial for maintaining healthy eyes. Request an appointment with Complete Eye Care for comprehensive corneal examinations.
What is a Corneal Evaluation?
A corneal evaluation is a comprehensive examination of the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil.
During a corneal evaluation, an eye doctor will examine the cornea under a high-powered microscope – the slit lamp – and look for any signs of damage or abnormalities. The goal of the evaluation is to assess the health of the cornea and ensure that it is getting enough oxygen.
Why are Corneal Evaluations Necessary?
1. For early detection of eye conditions
Corneal examinations play a vital role in the early detection of eye conditions and diseases.
Through the use of a specialized and high-power microscope called a slit lamp, our optometrists at Complete Eye Care carefully examine the cornea to identify any subtle signs of insufficient oxygen supply. This is important because when the cornea doesn’t get adequate oxygen, it can lead to a range of complications and eye problems.
By assessing the cornea’s shape, thickness, and clarity, we can detect potential issues like corneal abrasions, infections, dystrophies, and keratoconus at their early stages. This early detection enables us to provide prompt treatment, leading to better long-term outcomes for our patients.
2. To spot epithelial breakdown
We also check for “staining,” which indicates a breakdown in the top layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium. When the epithelium is compromised, harmful organisms and bacteria can enter the eye, potentially causing infections and serious vision issues.
3. To assess other corneal and eye conditions
The corneal evaluation also includes assessing neovascularization (the growth of abnormal blood vessels), meibomian obstruction (blocked oil glands in the eyelids), tear film abnormalities, and other potential problems that may affect the cornea’s health.
Additionally, corneal topography, a computerized test, can reveal any potentially harmful changes to the cornea resulting from contact lens wear.
4. For pre-and post-operative assessments
Corneal evaluations can also be vital before certain eye surgeries, such as LASIK or corneal transplants. These evaluations help determine whether you are a suitable candidate for the procedure and provide baseline measurements for comparison after the surgery. Regular post-operative evaluations are also important for rehabilitation and to monitor the long-term health of the cornea.
The Benefits of Regular Corneal Evaluations
Preventative eye care
Regular corneal evaluations serve as a proactive approach to maintaining good eye health. By detecting and addressing potential issues early on, we can prevent or minimize the progression of corneal conditions, preserving your vision and overall eye wellness.
Customized treatment plans
Corneal evaluations provide our optometrists with essential information to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique eye needs. Whether it’s managing dry eye symptoms, fitting specialty contact lenses, or exploring surgical options, a thorough understanding of your corneal health ensures the most effective and appropriate interventions.
Why Do I Need Corneal Evaluation if I Haven’t Experienced Any Problems?
Even if you have been wearing contact lenses without any noticeable issues, it is important to have your cornea evaluated regularly. Prolonged contact lens wear can lead to decreased corneal sensitivity, meaning your eye may not detect defects in the cornea even if they exist. Wearing contact lenses all day can mask discomfort caused by corneal problems, which makes it crucial to assess the corneal health of long-term contact lens wearers, regardless of symptoms.
Cost of Corneal Evaluations
For non-specialty contact lenses, the cost of corneal evaluations usually ranges from $50 to $250 annually. This cost covers the comprehensive assessment of your corneal health, ensuring that you can continue to enjoy the benefits of contact lenses without compromising your eye health.
Does Insurance Cover Corneal Evaluations?
While most insurance plans cover routine eye exams to determine your glasses prescription and evaluate eye health, contact lens services are typically considered separate procedures that may not be covered. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your coverage.
Get Corneal Evaluation in Belmont
At our practice, we are dedicated to providing thorough corneal evaluations and promoting eye health. We can help you maintain clear, comfortable vision with your contact lenses, detect and manage eye conditions proactively, optimize surgical outcomes, and ensure long-term eye health. Request an appointment with us today.