What are colored contact lenses?

Colored contact lenses are really interesting and draw a lot of attention. They can be used for costumes and theatrical purposes, or they can be used to provide more of a subtle natural look to enhance your eyes. Colored contact lenses may at times have medical uses as well, for example, if a patient has a scar or some sort of damage on their Iris, they may use an opaque color consequence to try to cover up any sort of damage that is on their eyes.

Don’t Buy Colored Contacts Without A Contact Lens Exam

It's really important that when someone purchases colored contact lenses, that they realize that they can't just buy them online from a random beauty supply store. Contact lenses are a medical device, and purchasing them without a doctor is actually illegal. Although the purpose may be purely cosmetic, colored contact lenses are an FDA approved medical device and you need a prescription in order to purchase these lenses.

Going to an eye doctor for colored lenses is not only about the technicalities of the law.

Contact lens exams are important because poorly fitting lenses can cause complications to your eye and vision. We all have unique eye structures, for instance, some eyes can be a little steeper, some can be a little flatter. Contact lenses come in different base curves.

A base curve is the radius of the sphere at the back of the lens, so the lower the number, the steeper the corneal curve and the lens; the higher the number, the flatter the curvature corneal and the lens. That is why it is not as simple as just picking out what lens you want, you really need a contact lens exam because the wrong choice can lead to a poor fit and medical complications.

What are some examples of complications from an improper contact lens fit?

There are many potential complications, for example if your eye is flatter on the front surface, and you put a contact lens that is steep on your eye, it will be too tight and may not move properly. As a result, your eye may be deprived of oxygen, and in severe cases, certain new blood vessels may form, causing all sorts of irritations and infections. In extreme cases, an incorrectly purchased lens could lead to a blinding condition of the eye if a scar is created next to your central visual axis.

Go to an Optometrist for Colored Lenses

Sometimes people incorrectly assume that the only reason why they can’t buy contact lenses online is because the eye doctor needs to make a living. However the truth is that buying contact lenses without a prescription from an eye doctor is dangerous. It's really important to get a proper contact lens evaluation by your eye care provider so that the eye doctor can see which type of contact lens and which specific color contact lens fits properly on your eyes.

Do I need a contact lens exam for non-prescription contact lenses?

We once had a patient come in around Halloween. He actually never wore contact lenses in the past and he just purchased some colored contact lenses online. He came in to see me because he was having so much trouble inserting and removing the contact lens that it ultimately caused him to have a scar on his eye. He thought since he had 20/20 vision he didn't need to come into his eye doctor for colored contact lenses.

It is very important to educate people that buying contact lenses, no matter if they are prescription or not, requires a contact lens exam. The contact lens exam will help you find a lens that is not only a good match to your prescription, but also find the proper curvature and diameter of the lens. So be safe and make sure that before you get colored contact lenses go to your eye care provider to get the proper examination. Learn more about colored contact lenses here.

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