5 Things You Need to Know about Cosmetic Contact Lenses
There are many reasons for someone to be interested in cosmetic contact lenses. You can wear coloured contact lenses to change up your style in fashion. You can take your Halloween costume to the next level with some spooky contact lenses. You can even wear a coloured contact lens to hide the appearance of an eye that has been disfigured from trauma or disease. Obviously our eyes are very precious to us; so it is important to educate yourself about contact lenses before you go sticking them into your eyes. Here are 5 things you need to know about cosmetic contact lenses.
1. Contact lenses are considered medical devices
Contact lenses (CL’s) are placed in direct contact with the eye and so it falls under the medical device category. In the USA, it is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that oversees the regulations for medical devices. Countries that fall within the European Union are regulated by the EU Commission. In Australia, medical devices are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). So like all medical devices, you should be getting your CL’s from a health professional to ensure that you are inserting something that is safe for your eyes. If you’re in Australia, you can find a suitable optometrist that will suit your needs via this link.
You should never buy your CL’s from retailers or vendors that don’t require a prescription. An unlicensed vendor might sell you non-approved or non-tested CL’s. You can often find these at gag shops or seasonal Halloween shops. Using these CL’s can put you at risk of some serious eye infections. Buying CL’s from your eye doctor will ensure that they are from a reputable source.
2. It is not one size fits all!
Much like how everyone wears different shoe sizes, CL’s also come in different sizes too. The size you wear is very important for both comfort and the health of your eyes. A contact lens that is too loose can result in unstable vision, ocular discomfort and risk of the lens being dislocated from your eye. A lens too tight can deprive your cornea of needed oxygen and nutrients that can lead to discomfort, red eyes, corneal ulcers, infections and loss of vision.
It is particularly important to ensure coloured CL’s are fitted correctly for two reasons. Firstly, the paints and pigments used to add colour also adds thickness to the lenses. This makes the lenses less breathable, therefore; less oxygen permeates through to the eye. Secondly, your pupil will naturally change its size depending on how bright or dark of an environment you are in. If your coloured contact lens is poorly fitted this is more likely to result in poor vision.
3. There are different tints available
Coloured CL’s come in different tints to suit many different requirements. There are three main tints available when it comes to coloured CL’s: Colour Enhancing, Visibility, and Opaque.
- Colour enhancing tints are designed to bring definition to the outer rim of your iris and rather than blocking out your natural eye colour, it intensifies it. These lenses are great because they offer a subtle and natural look, yet still provide the benefit of an eye makeover.
- Visibility tints are designed for people who have difficulty seeing their CL’s when handling them. They usually come in a very light blue or green tint that is very faint so it does not change the appearance of the eye.
- Opaque tints are designed to be non-transparent and offer a complete change in eye colour. People with darker natural eye colours will find opaque tints work best for them.
4. Choosing the right colour
Choosing the right colour is important and is not a simple task when it comes to CL’s. You may find the colour of the contact lens will look different once it is in your eye and may not look as appealing as you had hoped for. People with naturally dark brown eyes may find that a light-blue tinted contact lens may not look as vibrant as they have imagined. When you get your CL’s fitted with your optometrist, you will be able to trial the different colours available. This way, you know what colour lens suits you best.
5. It is important to look after your contact lenses properly
Much like regular CL’s, coloured CL’s also come as daily disposable, fortnightly, and monthly replacement. If you are wearing a fortnightly or monthly replacement lens, it means that you will need to clean and disinfect your lenses thoroughly between each use.
What’s the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Cleaning is the removal of deposits and debris from the contact lens surface. Disinfection is the elimination of germs from the contact lens to prevent you from developing an eye infection. Multipurpose solution is an all-in-one care system used to clean, disinfect and store your CL’s. Rinsing your contact lens in saline will only clean the contact lens, but it won’t disinfect it. NB: Only use saline to rinse a contact lens after cleaning and disinfecting with another care system.
Daily disposables are perfect for people who…
plan on wearing coloured lenses infrequently and for people who don’t want to clean their lenses every day. They are single-use, which means that you must dispose of them immediately after removing them from your eyes. These lenses are not designed to be worn multiple times as they are usually made up of a less breathable material. The biggest advantage in wearing a daily disposable is that they are convenient! You don’t need to worry about cleaning them, which means you don’t need to buy additional contact lens solution. They will always feel comfortable as you are wearing a fresh lens every day.