Eye Health Central

What Is The Difference Between Contact Lens Aftercare And A Contact Lens Check Up

Contact lens aftercare vs Contact Lens Check up

Contact lens aftercare

Many contact lens wears are not aware of the difference between contact lens aftercare and a contact lens checkup, it’s common to think that they are the same thing, but they are two separate, but essential parts of contact lens wear and care.

Let's take a look at the difference

Contact Lens Aftercare

Contact lens aftercare used to take place at your opticians, normally after the first few weeks of wearing lenses and then yearly.
It would involve the optometrist asking you several questions about how you handle and take care of your lenses. These questions would include -

  • How long do you wear your lenses?
  • How often do you replace your lenses?
  • How do you clean and store your lenses (if you are wearing monthly disposables)?
  • Do you sleep or swim in your lenses?
  • Are you having any problems with your lenses?
From your answers, the optometrist would decide whether alterations needed to be made to your wear time, your contact lens routine, or even the lenses themselves.
The optometrist would also use this appointment to check the health of your eyes.

This was standard practice for all optometrists and contact lens wearers for many years. 
There are 4.2 million contact lens wears in the UK with 65% of them wearing daily lenses. With the advancement of modern contact lenses material, the incidences of problems with contact lenses have been greatly reduced in recent years.

Do I Have To Go To An Optician For Contact Lens Aftercare

Not anymore, the General Optical Council GOC now feels it is the right time for contact lens wears to take control of their own contact lens aftercare, so there is no longer a requirement that contact lens wears must attend a contact lens aftercare with their optometrist, however, it is still strongly advised that you carry out regular contact lens aftercare for yourself at home- check out our detailed guide on how to perform a contact lens aftercare for yourself.

The health of your eyes will be checked when you attend your contact lens check-up.

Contact Lens Check-Up

A contact lens check-up needs to be carried out by an optometrist and is an important part of contact lens wear.
When you are fitted for contact lenses your optometrist will inform you when you need to return for a contact lens check-up. The period between contact lens check-ups will depend on several factors such as the type of lenses you are wearing, how long you have been wearing lenses, and how often you wear them.

At a contact lens check-up your optometrist will check that your lenses are still suitable for you and that they are not damaging your eyes.
During a contact lens check-up your optometrist will

  • Check your vision
  • Examine the front of your eyes using a slit lamp
  • Check how your eyes behave with your lenses in 
  • Examine your eyes with your lenses out
  • Use a yellow dye (Fluorescein) to see your tears and see if the lenses are causing any damage to your cornea
There are 4.2 million contact lens wearers in the UK with 65% of them wearing daily lenses,  the incidences of problem with contact lenses have been greatly reduced in recent years, but it is important not to become too complacent, it is very easy to fall into bad habits, and to cut corners with hygiene and cleaning routines, which can lead to eye health issues and reduce the lifespan of your lenses.
It is important to attend regular contact lens check-ups with your optometrist so that the health of your eyes and their interaction with your lenses can be checked, and this is a great opportunity to get into the habit of carrying out an at home aftercare check prior to the appointment.

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 26 Sep 2023, Last modified: 1 Jun 2024