What You Need to Know About Color Contact Lenses

Eye color can play a powerful role in how a person is perceived. Many artists have found inspiration in eye colors across the spectrum, from Van Morrison’s classic song “Brown-Eyed Girl” to the mesmerizing Steve McCurry portrait entitled “Afghan Girl.”

But many people would love to alter the color of their eyes, whether to change their overall appearance or to complete a costume. Individuals can achieve rich browns and striking greens alike using color contacts.

However, these contacts are often less regulated than their prescription counterparts. In some cases, poor manufacturing or misuse can even make color contacts a hazard for your eyes.

It’s important to understand the best buying, care, and usage practices to ensure that changing the color of your eyes doesn’t endanger your optical health.

Buying Color Contact Lenses

While color contact lenses can add to your appearance, you should think of them in medical rather than cosmetic terms. Because contact lenses are worn on the eye, prioritize finding the right lenses just like you would when getting new prescription glasses. Don’t shop like you would when looking for a new piece of jewelry.

Plan to invest in your new lenses. Many cheap color lenses are not shaped correctly for safe wear or are not made of materials intended for the eyes. If the contacts you choose are not the right shape, they could irritate or even scratch your eye, potentially leading to infection and other complications. To ensure your eye health and safety, you will need to choose higher-quality lenses, which are inherently more expensive than other lenses.

Start your search for color contact lenses where you begin looking for any corrective eyewear: at your optometrist’s office. It’s particularly important to get the advice of a professional eye doctor if you have never worn contact lenses before.

Your eye doctor will account for your eye shape, health and history, and prescription when making recommendations of color contact brands and types. In some cases, you may even be able to order your new color contact lenses in your eye doctor’s office through a partner brand.

If you need vision correction, you may be able to find contacts with your prescription. Keep in mind, however, that some novelty styles can affect the scope your vision, not just its acuity. For example, full eye contacts that give the appearance of cataracts or “black eyes” can completely block your vision. These lenses may be appropriate for photoshoots and other static activities, but they cannot be worn for parties, conventions, and other costume events.

Caring for Color Contact Lenses

Once you choose the right contacts for your intended purpose, it’s important to take care of the lenses just like you would with a prescription set. Follow these guidelines:

● Avoid exposing your lenses to contaminants. To keep your lenses clean and intact, always use contact solution for cleaning rather than water. Do not use saliva to rinse your contacts.
● Clean the lenses after each use. When you take your lenses out, clean them using contact solution. Use a gentle rubbing motion to remove any buildup on the surface of the contact. Allow each lens to air dry completely before putting it in its case.
● Dispose of the contacts as recommended. When you get your color contacts, check how long you should expect them to last. While many contacts can last for longer periods of time, none are permanent. You should always stop using a set of contacts and dispose of them once they reach the end of their life expectancy.
● Store your contacts in a clean case. Choose a hard case for each pair of contact lenses you currently use. To avoid contamination, replace the case about every three months.

In addition to these guidelines, follow any instructions provided by your eye doctor or by the contact lens manufacturer.

Wearing Color Contact Lenses

Cultivating good habits for contact lens wear can reduce your risk of eye irritation and infection. Take the following measures:

● Avoid exposing your lenses to water
● Avoid sleeping in color contact lenses
● Carry contact solution, a travel case, and soothing eye drops with you in case you need to remove your contacts
● Never share your lenses with another person
● Take your contacts out and give your eyes a break if your eyes begin to feel tired or itchy
● Wash your hands thoroughly before inserting or removing the contacts

Additionally, if you experience prolonged irritation after wearing your color contacts, stop wearing them and schedule an appointment with an optometrist to determine the cause of the problem.