Colored contact lenses aren’t just for Halloween anymore. People wear them to make a fashion statement and even to alleviate certain health conditions. Yes, colored contacts can be cool, and they can even be safe to wear. We asked Key-Whitman Eye Center’s Dallas optometrist Martin Faber, O.D., for the inside scoop on this growing trend. Below, Dr. Faber shares five interesting facts about colored contacts that may surprise you. No. 1: Most optometry practices sell colored contacts, and that’s the only place you should go to get yours.
As Dr. Faber explains:
“There are a lot of colored and decorative lenses available on the internet and through resellers who illegally sell colored contacts. These lenses could be trial lenses sold under the table or counterfeit lenses imported from overseas. Many people assume these products are simply accessories and safe to wear. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Only an eye doctor can provide a proper lens fitting, ensure the lenses you purchase are sterile, and train you in proper lens care and wear. Wearing ill-fitting or contaminated contact lenses can lead to painful and unsightly abrasions and infections, even vision loss – so it’s not worth the risk.”
Learn more about the risks of illegal colored and decorative contact lenses from Dr. Faber in this past story,
No. 2: While they come in a variety of colors and designs, colored contacts are essentially the same as normal prescription contact lenses.
Because only FDA-approved contacts can be legally sold in the U.S., colored contacts need to meet the same strict regulations that normal contacts do.
“There is no difference between the two. FDA-approved colored contacts are simply disposable lenses that have been tinted with color. For example, Air Optics Aqua by Alcon started out as a traditional disposable lens that was later tinted with color. I have some patients who alternate between clear prescription lenses and tinted lenses by the same manufacturer. This makes it easier to switch between the two when the mood strikes,” says Dr. Faber.
No. 3: There are plenty of safe, fun and quirky colored contact lens options available.
Dr. Faber is happy to fit patients with colored contacts and encourages people to have fun with them.
As he explains,
“There are a lot of options for tints and oddities available in the colored lens market. Some lenses use transparent tints to give a subtle enhancement of a patient’s natural eye color. These lenses will occasionally change the patient’s color perception. Others are used to change eye color using opaque tints. With these lenses, the center of the lens is clear and a tint is applied to the outer surface of the lens. The opaque tints can produce a dramatic change in one’s eye color.”
No. 4: Colored contacts can alleviate some health conditions and aesthetic concerns.
According to Dr. Faber,
“Specialty tinted lenses can cosmetically improve the appearance of eyes disfigured by injury, infection or scarring on the cornea. Plus, there is a custom tinting process available to match the tint to the patient’s eye color. Some patients with eye injuries also have problems with glare, which reduces their ability to function. One option is to blackout the pupil in the contact lens (a concept similar to black-out drapes). Manufacturers can tint a central black dot on the front of the lens to block light from entering the eye, which can make the patient feel more comfortable.”
No. 5: You can expect better results with colored contacts if you allow time to for a test run.
If you’re interested in colored contacts, Dr. Faber recommends you notify your eye doctor in advance of your eye appointment. That way the doctor can attempt to get some trial lenses in stock before your visit, and you’ll have time to test the lenses for comfort, fit and visual acuity.
In addition, Dr. Faber says,
“If you haven’t been fitted for contact lenses before, or it’s been awhile since your last eye appointment, your eye doctor will also want to perform an exam to ensure you are a good candidate for contact lenses.Excessive dry eye symptoms and certain anatomical issues can prevent some people from wearing contacts safely.”
If you would like to learn more about colored contact lens options or schedule an eye health exam with an eye doctor in Dallas, give us a call at
(214) 220-3937, or you can set up an appointment online here.