Color Contact Lenses
Want to change your appearance? One of the easiest and most effective ways to give yourself a new look is to wear color contact lenses.
There are color contacts that can enhance your current eye color (make your light blue eyes look violet/blue, for example) and lenses that can change your eye color altogether (make your brown eyes appear blue, green or gray).
There are even special-effect color lenses that can make you look other-worldly (Goth, Circle and vampire lenses, to name a few).
And you can wear color contact lenses whether you have nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism – or even if you have perfect vision and don’t need glasses or contacts to correct your eyesight!
Types of Colored Contacts
Most color contact lenses are designed to keep the colored part of your eye (iris) looking natural and attractive – just a different color.
The central zone of these color lenses – the part directly in front of the pupil – usually is clear to allow the same amount of light to enter your eye as regular (non-tinted) contacts.
Basically, there are two types of color contacts, based on the density of the tint(s) used:
Enhancement color lenses. . These lenses have a translucent (see-through) tint that modifies the color of your eyes without changing it completely. As their name implies, enhancement color lenses are designed to enhance or deepen the natural color of your eyes. These lenses are best for people who have light-colored eyes and want to make their eye color more intense.
Opaque color lenses. These color contacts have dense, non-transparent tints that can give you a completely different eye color. If you have dark brown eyes, for example, you’ll need this type of lens to change your eye color to blue, green, gray or other colors.
Special-effect color contact lenses (also called costume or theatrical lenses) are a special variety of opaquely tinted lenses that intentionally produce an unnatural appearance.
Examples of special-effect color contacts are lenses that make the wearer look like a vampire, an alien, a cat-like creature, and a variety of other unusual or scary-appearing characters.
“Circle” lenses are another popular type of special-effect color lenses. Also called “big-eye” lenses, these theatrical lenses make the wearer’s eyes look larger than normal, like those of an anime cartoon character.
There even are special-effect contact lenses that display the logo of your favorite professional sports team!
Because the tinting of many special-effect contact lenses extends across the entire lens – including the central portion that covers the pupil – caution should be taken when wearing these lenses for activities like driving at night, since they can decrease the amount of light entering the eye and may affect vision in low-light conditions.
Most regular soft and rigid gas permeable (GP) contacts — those that are not designed to enhance or change your eye color — have a very faint (usually light blue) tint that extends across the entire lens surface. This is called a visibility tint, or sometimes a “handling” tint.
The purpose of visibility tints is to help you see your contacts when they are in the manufacturer’s packaging or in your lens case, and help you find your lenses if you drop them while applying, removing or cleaning your lenses.
These lightly tinted lenses will not noticeably alter your eye color or affect your vision.
Do You Need a Prescription for Color Contact Lenses?
In the United States, all contact lenses — including color contacts that have no corrective power and are worn for cosmetic reasons only — are considered medical devices and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As such, color contact lenses cannot be legally purchased or worn in the U.S. without a valid prescription written by a licensed eye care professional. A contact lens prescription can be determined only after a contact fitting has been performed.
If you are interested in color contact lenses, see your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens consultation and fitting.
Never, EVER, purchase color contact lenses sold at flea markets or from other unlicensed sources. Doing so greatly increases your risk of serious eye problems.
Never Exchange Color Contacts With Friends
And speaking of things you should NOT do – as fun as it might sound, never swap color contact lenses with friends. Exchanging contact lenses can transmit harmful bacteria and cause serious eye infections.
If you are interested in trying color contacts with different colors than those you already have, return to your eye care provider to see the full variety of colors that are available. If you stay with the same lens brand, you do not need another contact lens fitting to purchase different colors.
Choosing more than one color can be fun, and allows you to change your eye color to match your wardrobe or your mood!
Caring for Your Color Contacts
Like all contact lenses, color contacts must be properly cleaned, disinfected and stored with appropriate lens care products after each use to avoid contamination and potential eye infections.
Also, be sure to discard and replace your color contact lenses according to the schedule your eye doctor gives you.
If you experience eye discomfort when wearing color contacts, remove the lenses, call your eye doctor, and bring the lenses with you to your exam so they can be inspected.
As with regular contact lenses, taking proper care of your lenses and seeing your eye doctor for routine check-ups is the best way to get the greatest enjoyment from your color contact lenses.
Article ©2013, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Color Contact Lenses by AllAboutVision.com.
VISION & HEALTH NEWSLETTER COURTESY OF:
Floyd Smith, O.D.
372 Kinderkamack Rd.
Westwood, NJ 07675