Colored contacts for medical reasons
You’ve probably seen decorative colored contacts worn in movies with vampires and werewolves and such. You might also have noticed how some actors’ eye color is extremely vivid in some films. The trick is in the lens covering up their natural eye color. In not so well known cases, colored contacts are prescribed for the correction of different eye conditions such as near-, farsightedness or astigmatism to make the eyes look more natural. It is possible to change your original color in these cases as well of course. Last but not least, colored lenses are also worn by athletes to enhance their vision. This is commonly referred to as “sports tint”, as the lenses are custom tinted by the manufacturer to enhance contrast and depth perception and reduce glare. For example green tint can help a tennis player see the green ball on the court more clearly. But of course the most common purpose is to change your looks weather it is a daring gaze or a subtle change you’re looking for. As fun they are, colored lenses are still contact lenses, where you need to keep the optometrists instructions.
Types of colored contacts
We’ve already discussed the difference between prescribed and plano colored contacts. But you can also divide them based on the coloring method itself. To explain this, we first need to discuss the structure of your eye briefly. The colored part is called the iris and is made up of different colorful shapes and lines. In the center of it, you can find the pupil, which is actually used to see. What colored contacts do is to add different dots and shapes to an extent above the iris, leaving the part above the pupils blank so your vision is not affected. It all comes down to what extent these lens tints are colored.
- Opaque tint: this is the most color you can get, creating a non transparent tint changing your eye color completely. Similar to hair color, a naturally dark shade is harder to add color to. So for people with dark shades of eye color, the opaque tints are advised. For example if you want to try honeycolor but your natural eye color is dark brown. This is also true in the case of theatrical lenses, where the eye is mimicked to be a completely different shape, alien or demonic even.
- Enhancement tint: This is already little lighter than an opaque tint as it is meant to enhance the original eye color. It is translucent, adding a bit of coloring to your eye and is typically well suited for people with naturally lighter eye colors.
- Visibility tint: Tints such as this are not exactly what we are looking for with colored contacts and could actually be applied in case o regular contact lenses as well. It is mostly a light blue tint added so you can see the lens better when applying and removing. It is not dark enough though to affect your eye color or your gaze.
Do colored contacts need to be prescribed?
Yes, very much so. In some countries this is the only way to legally own colored contacts, but in every case it is in your best interest. Remember, that colored lenses are contact lenses as well, meaning they are a medical device. First of all they need to be fitted to your eye. This will ensure they are comfortable and look natural: the colored part isn’t larger than your actual iris and does not bother your vision. Colored contacts also need to be well stored, cleaned as not to pass on infections or bacteria that could later cause serious eye conditions. Would you trust a street vendor to have stored the lenses accordingly? It’s better not to take risks and acquire colored contacts only by prescription. You also need to remember to clean them regularly, wear them only as long as instructed and never swap them with friends. It might be a fun idea for everyone to try, but this is also a great way of spreading bacteria that would lead to an eye infection. If you only plan to apply them on special occasions, daily disposables are a great choice.
When wearing colored contacts, especially if you don’t have experience with regular contacts, you should also remember that even the most well-fitted lens can slide a bit over your pupil in some cases. This can happen when blinking, and may temporarily affect your vision, but most definitely cause an unnatural appearance for a second. Also, your pupil is constantly changing size. When it dilates at night, it might grow larger than the clear center of your lens and affect your vision.
Advice on wearing colored contacts
There are a few simply guidelines you should stick to, but these rules will not mean you can’t have fun. The main purpose of colored contacts is to enjoy them, so while being as careful and safe as possible, don’t forget to simply have a good time.
Sharing isn’t caring: never share your lenses, colored or regular.
Take proper care of your colored contacts: be mindful of when you’ll need to replace them, store them according to your optometrists prescription and keep them clean.
Pay attention to your reactions: stop wearing lenses if you develop red eye, if you experience irritation or have sore eyes. The best is to consult with your optometrist to make sure everything is allright.