Do Colored Contacts Affect Your Eyes?

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Do Colored Contacts Affect Your Eyes? - First Eye Care North Arlington

Colored Contacts are Very Popular During Halloween

October is finally here. It marks the beginning of the holiday season and cool weather. More importantly, it means that Halloween is just around the corner! Children, teens, and adults all get to dress up as their favorite TV or movie characters, monsters, and whatever else they can imagine! Many people go to great lengths to ensure that their costume is as well done as possible, stealing the show wherever they go.

You can use intricate costumes, expertly crafted prosthetics, and even colored contact lenses. These decorative lenses can completely alter the way your eyes look. You can change your eye color completely, blackout your eyes, give yourself zombie or cat eyes, and so much more. But beware! Colored contact lenses can be harmful to your eyes if you aren’t careful.

Types of Contacts Lenses

Before we get into how colored contact lenses can affect your eyes, allow us to inform you about the many different types of contact lenses. There are different lenses for different purposes.

  • Visibility Tint: Eye care professionals designed these lenses to help you see better. They are what you think of when you think of prescription lenses. They are often a light blue-green tint to make them easier to see when handling them, and your eye color is not changed.
  • Enhancement Tint: These are darker than the former lenses. They are a solid color but are also see-through. As implied, they enhance the natural color of your eyes. People with light eyes see the best results.
  • Opaque Tint: These are used to completely change the color of your eyes. They are a solid, non-transparent lens. People with dark eyes would need to use these to change their eye colors. Colors like hazel, green, blue, violet, gray, brown, and more are often offered.

If you already wear prescription lenses, you can still wear colored contacts. They are typically available in prescription color contacts and plano color contacts.

  • Prescription Color: These lenses help correct any vision issues you may have, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and more. As mentioned, they also enhance or change your eye color.
  • Plano Color: If you don’t require vision correction but still want contacts that change your eye color, plano color contacts should be your choice. They are still prescription to ensure they are safe to wear but only for cosmetic purposes.

The Dangers of Colored Contact Lenses

In the United States, many people are not aware of the fact that, as of 2004, retailers cannot sell contact lenses without a prescription from an eye care professional. When completing one’s costume, people often don’t think about getting an eye exam to get fitted for colored contacts. However, by law, that’s the only way to get them.

You should avoid purchasing colored contacts from:

  • Halloween stores
  • Street vendors
  • Beauty shops
  • Novelty stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Online stores

None of these distributors are authorized to sell contact lenses. The FDA views the contact lens as a medical device, which means they have to be inspected and approved by the FDA before they are made available to the market. Even lenses made just for cosmetic purposes have to be FDA approved.

Wearing Nonprescription Lenses 

If you were to purchase and wear colored contact lenses without a prescription, you are putting your eyes and vision in danger. Often, these contacts are made offshore, using questionable materials. When shipped to the U.S., they may become contaminated but receive little to no inspection. These lenses can collect germs and transfer them to the wearer.

You should also know that there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” contact lens. Much like your fingerprint, everybody’s eye shape is a different size and shape. You must have a contact lens fitting to ensure that you get a lens that fits naturally and comfortably on your eye.

Wearing nonprescription contact lenses regardless of the purpose can lead to many different eye conditions, including:

Costume contact lenses use paints and pigments that may prevent the appropriate amount of oxygen from reaching your eye, which can also lead to injury. In some cases, your condition may require eye surgery to treat it. However, these surgeries may not always be successful. There have been plenty of cases where wearing a nonprescription costume contact has resulted in someone losing their vision.

How to Safely Get Colored Contacts

As mentioned, the only legal and safe way to acquire colored contact lenses for your Halloween costume or other occasion is to get a prescription from an eye care professional. Without one, you are engaging in an illegal purchase and putting the health of your eyes at risk. To get costume contacts, these steps are here to help you:

  • Visit your eye doctor for an eye exam: During your appointment, your doctor will be able to tell you if your eyes can handle contacts. From here, they will then measure your eyes to create the right shape for your contacts. You should always get an exam from your eye doctor for colored contacts even if you do not require vision correction.
  • Get a valid prescription: This should include a reputable brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date. Your eye doctor will also be able to help you find a vendor to acquire your lenses.
  • Purchase your contacts from a vendor that requires a prescription: As we have mentioned before, it is illegal to sell contacts without requiring a prescription. If you go to purchase colored contacts, and you are not asked to provide your prescription, that should be a red flag.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders: Contacts are fairly easy to handle. However, it is important to follow your eye doctor’s instructions when it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing your lenses. If you begin to experience redness, eye pain, or decreased vision when wearing them, contact your doctor right away.

Halloween is the perfect time to have fun and dress up as whatever you want to be. Colored contacts are a key part of many people’s costumes. People use them to transform the way your eyes look to complete your costume. However, it is important to remember to always get an eye exam to safely and legally receive your contacts. First Eye Care North Arlington is here to provide you with all of your contact needs, including colored contacts for your Halloween costume!

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