Thinking about changing your look with colored contacts? Regular contact lenses and colored contacts aren’t much different except for one type of lens has color tint and the other doesn’t. These color tints won’t harm your eyes, but the colored lenses might be a bit more uncomfortable than normal contacts would be. Here are a few things to know about regular contact lenses and colored contacts!
40.9 million Americans wear contacts, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the past, various types of glasses and magnifying devices were the only way people with vision problems could see. That changed with the invention of contact lenses in 1887. These were glass lenses that allowed a person to see without wearing glasses. Because they were made of glass, they were quite uncomfortable. In 1938, scientists created plastic contact lenses, which were then mass-produced.
Now, contact lenses are made of a much softer plastic material. In the years following the invention of plastic lenses, your eyes would have to adjust to the feel of the plastic. That material was so rigid that it could even change the shape of your cornea over time. This is what led to the creation of the breathable, very thin lens that patients wear today. Lenses are chosen based off of eye measurements you get during your eye exam. The prescription you get will be a pair of lenses that take your current vision to 20/20.
Contacts are considered “medical devices”, which is why you must be prescribed them by an eye doctor in order to get lenses for your vision. At our office, we give patients several options for the type of contact lenses they want based on the material and how breathable they want their lenses to be.
Hard contact lenses are better for some patients depending on their vision conditions. They excel at providing crisp vision for many challenging eye conditions, and their high oxygen permeability lowers the risk for eye infections. In the past, contact lenses only came in a hard, rigid version. The difference between hard and soft (besides the texture) is that you can keep hard contact lenses for years, whereas you will have to switch out soft contacts. You can also get contacts that are specific to a vision problem such as astigmatism or keratoconus.
You can get various types of contacts in the colored version. Most contact lenses that have color are the disposable type of contacts. This can be a daily wear, monthly wear or ones that you dispose of after a certain amount of time. You can have colored contacts with vibrant color, opaque tints, enhancement tints or visibility tints. A visibility tint is so subtle, you may not notice it unless you were looking. This tint is added to contacts so you can tell where it is in your contact solution container. This barely-perceptible tint also helps if you drop a contact lens.
Enhancement tints in contact lenses will be a more solid (yet see-through) tint to a contact that enhances your natural eye color. These tints can make the color of your eye more vibrant. If you want your eye color to be an entirely different color or a solid, darker color you already have, you want an opaque tint. This is a solid color film in the lens that will cover the colored part of your eye, the iris.
There are not many differences between colored contacts and regular contact lenses besides the color factor. Some patients will say that colored contacts are more noticeable in the eye and a bit less comfortable because of the tint material. Other patients don’t notice a difference, but but the most noticeable one when switching is if you do it from a regular contact lens to a solid-colored one. No matter which type of lens you choose, both will be offered at your doctor’s office. You can find breathable types in both colored and regular contact lenses.
We caution you against buying contact lenses outside of an eye doctor’s office. Often, these are contacts that are illegally sold, and they can be very dangerous for your vision. Beware of costume lenses in specialty stores and especially around halloween. These are not lenses that are regulated by the FDA or health administrations and the chemicals in them can cause major eye infections, chemical damage and even blindness. Receiving colored contacts or regular lenses through a certified eye doctor will always be the safest option for you.
If you want to see clearer and don’t want the hassle of taking glasses everywhere with you, look into our contact lens options. We can help you find the right contact lenses in colored, regular transparent and specialty contact lens options. Call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 333-2800!