If you want to experiment with a new eye color, consider a pair of colored contact lenses. Whether you’re looking for subtle highlights or want to make a splash with a bold new look, here are the things you should know before purchasing colored contacts.
You Need a Prescription
Although some colored contact lenses are designed only to change the color of the eye and not to correct vision, anyone purchasing contact lenses in the U.S., even if they are purely cosmetic, need to have a prescription. This is true even if you have perfect vision.
The FDA places all contact lenses in the category of medical devices and they cannot legally be sold in the U.S. without a prescription, regardless of their use. Purchasing cosmetic contact lenses online, in costume stores or kiosks without a prescription is not only illegal; many of these lenses do not meet safety standards and can potentially damage your eyes.
Whether you want to get fitted for colored lenses just to spice up your appearance or need vision correction and also want to alter the way your eyes look, you will need to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, who will assess your vision and eye health, and use their training to prescribe the best lenses for you.
At Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses we can give you an eye exam and answer your questions about colored contacts. We serve patients in Albuquerque,and provide convenient and comprehensive eye care.
What Are Colored Contact Lenses?
There are two types of colored contact lenses: those that are meant to correct vision and change the way the color appears, and those that are purely cosmetic.
Colored contact lenses alter the way the iris, the colored part of the eye, appears. Although the part of the lens that covers the iris has color, the very center of the contact lens is transparent. This allows the front of the pupil, which controls how much light enters the eye, to function properly.
Colored contact lenses come in different types of tints:
Although the visibility tint has a slight green or blue portion, it does not change the color of the eye at all. Rather, it allows contact lens wearers to see the lens more clearly during insertion or removal, and especially if it is dropped.
The enhancement tint is translucent and is darker than the visibility tint. This level of tint does not drastically change the color of the eye. Rather, it intensifies natural eye color, and is ideal for people who have light-colored eyes and want dramatic highlights, such as brighter blue, darker green or violet accents.
Opaque tints have solid colors and are not transparent. They are ideal for changing the perceived shade of the eyes from a darker to a lighter shade, or dramatically changing the perceived color of the eyes. These tints are available in:
Blending tints are able to combine opaque and transparent tints because they are transparent on the outside and gradually become more opaque towards the middle. The intention is to make the new eye color look more natural.
Custom tint lenses are designed specifically for individual wearers and, since they are suited to their natural eye color, have a more natural look. In some cases, custom tint lenses are designed for people who have suffered from eye injuries or have eye imperfections and want a more natural looking iris or pupil.
Athletes can benefit from custom tints, which are called “sport tints,” because they can minimize glare, improve depth perception and sharpen contrast sensitivity for heightened sports performance.
Choosing the Right Colored Contact Lenses
The type of colored contact lenses you choose will depend on whether or not you need vision correction, the natural appearance of your eyes and the effect you would like to create.
If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or another eye condition and also want to change the shade of your eyes, choose colored contact lenses that correct vision and alter eye color.
Transparent or enhancement tints bring out the color in light-hued irises. Opaque tints can transform the color of dark eyes. For medium-shade eyes, blending tints create a more subtle change.
Are there Any Special Risks with Wearing Colored Contacts?
The risks of wearing colored contact lenses are not that different from the side effects that can arise from wearing regular contacts. According to the FDA, some possible side effects of wearing contact lenses:
- Eye irritation
- Corneal abrasion
- Corneal ulcers
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Eye infections
In many cases, eye infections are caused by improper cleaning and disinfecting of the lenses. It is important to [familiarize] yourself with contact lens care and to ensure that your hands are clean before inserting and removing your lenses. You should discuss any symptoms of an eye infection, such as eye swelling, excessive tearing, red eyes or blurred vision, with your eye doctor
In addition to problems associated with regular contact lenses, there are a few that can be caused specifically by colored contacts. These include:
- The colored portion of the contact may slide over the pupil, which could interfere with aesthetics and vision
- As pupils expand at night, they may extend into the opaque portion of the lens, obscuring vision
To be fitted for colored contact lenses, schedule an appointment with our optometric team at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque. See better and look your best with colored contact lenses that suit your style, vision and lifestyle.
Q: How Do I Get Fitted for Colored Contacts?
- A: The fitting process for colored contact lenses is the same as for regular lenses, except that you may want to consider first what kind of tint and shade you are looking for. The eye doctor will measure your eyes to determine the power, curve and diameter of the lenses. They will then measure your iris and pupil, and with a tear film evaluation, check that your eyes produce enough tears to stay moist. This is important because if the eyes are too dry, contact lenses will cause discomfort.Some eye doctors can also provide a trial of these contact lenses, allowing you to see the actual changes and enhancements to your eye’s color and whether they meet your expectations.
Q: Are Colored Contacts More Expensive Than Regular Lenses?
- A: Colored contact lenses cost more than regular contacts. This makes sense, considering that it requires extra craftsmanship to make natural-looking lenses that will alter the appearance of the eye. However, many people are pleased with the way colored contacts look and are willing to make the investment to enhance their eye color.
Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.