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Wearing Colored Contact Lenses This Halloween? Beware and Take Care!

Countless adults, teens and even children will be wearing colored contact lenses this Halloween, but few are aware of the risks involved. Ever wondered what those cat-eye contacts are doing to your eyes? If you got them without a prescription, beware of health complications.

Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by educating yourself and others about the dangers of wearing colored contact lenses without a prescription.

Why Can Over-The-Counter Colored Contact Lenses Cause Eye Damage?

Contact lenses made to change one’s appearance go by many names: cosmetic, theatrical, Halloween, circle, decorative, colored, or costume contact lenses. While it’s illegal to sell colored contact lenses without a prescription, authorities rarely enforce the law — which means they’re still accessible in many places.

Many people believe that wearing non-prescription color contact lenses can cause no harm. This unfortunate myth has led to many contact lens complications. For instance, when a person feels that a contact lens is “dry”, it could be because the lens is not a good fit. Ideally, the lens should follow the contour of the eye, and stay centered, with enough lens movement to allow tear exchange beneath the lens. 

Furthermore, non-medical colored contact lenses are often produced by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use inferior plastic and toxic materials, such as lead (often used in lens coloring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. These illegal lenses may also contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions.

Therefore, purchasing any kind of contact lenses without a prescription or medical oversight can result in a variety of eye complications, such as corneal abrasions, eye sores, conjunctivitis, other eye infections, vision impairment and, in rare cases, even permanent vision loss. 

Even if you have perfect vision, all contact lenses, including colored contacts, require a prescription and proper fitting by an optometrist.

Contact us at Fusion Eye Care and make an appointment with Dr. Kiarash Bassiri, OD to get properly examined for a contact lens prescription. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Colored Contact Lenses

  • DO make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist who will measure your eyes and properly fit you for contact lenses.  
  • DO get a valid prescription that includes the measurements, expiration date and the contact lens brand name.
  • DO purchase the decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (hint: they should demand a prescription.)
  • DO follow the contact lens hygiene directives (cleaning, inserting and removing lenses) provided by your eye doctor. 
  • DO make sure to undergo follow-up eye exams as directed by your eye care professional.
  • DON’T ever share contact lenses with anyone else.

So don’t let an eye infection get in the way of your fun this Halloween. Wearing decorative lenses without a valid prescription can result in serious harm to your eyes, which can haunt you long after October 31st.  

Get your comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting by an eye doctor in Raleigh at Fusion Eye Care.

Can You Store Contacts In Water?

No, never ever store contacts in water. Even if it is purified, water from a tap can contain bacteria or microorganisms that can lead to severe eye infections.

Plus, water will not disinfect contact lenses. If you put them in water in just a few minutes or a few hours, bacteria, pathogens, and fungi can grow on your lenses and get into your eyes.

This is why eye professionals tell their patients or customers to take out their contact lenses whenever swimming no matter if it is in the ocean, a lake or in a pool. The microorganisms that live in water can remain on the lenses and cause eye problems.

You should wear swim goggles, at the very least, when swimming if you do not take out your contacts. These will protect the lenses and your eyes. If you wear disposables, you can also swim with them and then discard them afterward, replacing them with a new pair.

You can read more about good strategies for swimming when wearing contact lenses here.

Putting Contacts in Water is Risky and Uncomfortable

This is the harsh truth. Eye infections from dirty or improperly disinfected contact lenses can cause vision loss and permanent eye problems or blindness.

Only use approved contact lens cleaning solution. Water – even distilled water – does not have the salt that your tears have, and it is not balanced to handle your tears’ acidity.

Due to these differences, water can make your contact lenses become misshapen and stick to your eyes if you try putting them on. It can cause obvious changes in vision or blurriness.

10 Contact Lens Myths

 

  1. I am unable to wear contact lenses.

You can now! Due to contact lens technology advances in recent years, now nearly everybody is able to wear contacts. For instance, there are numerous contact lenses available for individuals who have presbyopia; hybrid, rigid, and soft contact lenses for correcting astigmatism; as well as custom contact lens that are able to correct even very challenging prescriptions.

If you were told that you couldn’t wear contacts in the past, it is time for you to ask about it again. You might be a better candidate now for wearing contact lenses that you might think you are!

  1. A contact lens may get lost behind my eye.

No! The conjunctiva is a thin membrane covering the white portion of your eye. It then is connected to the inner part of your eyelids. That makes it nearly impossible to lose a contact lens behind your eye.

  1. It is uncomfortable to wear contact lenses

This is not true. After a short adaptation period, a majority of individuals are not aware that they are wearing contact lenses. For people who do experience discomfort from their lens, there are several different discomfort remedies that are available for the kitchen table and its causes are pointed. For those who do experiment with contracting their lens discomfort directly, and those who experience discomfort from contact lenses, after the cause has been pinpointed that are several discomfort remedies that are available.

  1. The contact lens may get stuck to my eyes permanently.

Although it is true that a soft contact lens may stick to your eye’s surface if it becomes dried out, when you apply a sterile saline or type of multipurpose contact lens solution can get it moving once again.

  1. It is too much trouble taking care of contact lenses.

False. A one-bottle contract lens care system makes it easy to clean and disinfect your lenses. Or you can completely eliminate contact lens care by wearing disposable daily contact lenses.

  1. Eye problems are caused by wearing contact lenses.

Wearing contact lenses may increase your risk of specific eye problems. However, if you follow the instructions from your eye doctor in terms of how your lenses should be cared for, how long they should be worn and how often the need to be replaced, it is very safe to wear contact lenses these days.

  1. I won’t be able to remove them from my eyes.

Yes you will. At first, it may seem hard. However, your eye care professional will ensure that you learn how to properly apply and also remove contacts prior to leaving our office. A majority of individuals become very proficient at handling their contact lenses a lot faster than they were expecting to.

  1. Contacts might pop out.

The old hard contact lenses years ago would pop out of the person’s eyes at times during activities such as sports. However, modern contacts – which include rigid gas permeable contacts – now fit close to your eye so it is quite rare that a contact lens would get dislodged unexpectedly from the wearer’s eye.

  1. Contact lenses cost too much.

This isn’t true. Sometimes contact lenses cost less than a nice pair of glasses. Even disposable daily contact lenses, which were considered to be a luxury in the past, cost as low as one dollar per day now.

  1. I am too old to wear contact lenses.

According to who? Now that multifocal contact lenses have been introduced, and with all of the new contacts that have been designed for dry eyes, advanced age isn’t a barrier any longer for being able to wear contact lenses successfully the way it used to be. Talk to your eye doctor to find out if you are a good candidate for wearing contacts – you might be surprised at the answer.

Quick Guide On Choosing Colored Eye Contact Lenses

While the use of color contact lenses is a fun way of having a unique look that enhances the color of your eyes and your overall look, picking is the best color is a tough decision.

So, how do you find what suits your personality and preference? You can start by examining your closet to pick your favorite clothes and take note of their color. Consider which colors you wear the most and which fetch your compliments every time you rock them.

While at it, take the time to consider the color of your hair and your skin tone. If some color of some eyeglass frames does not work with your hair color, skin tone, and outfits, similarly will the color of the contacts you pick.

In short, by looking into these elements, you will find the answers to what color of eye contact lens to choose.

  • People with golden-brown hair, or yellow-blond hair, or a warm skin tone (gold and yellow undertones) often look fabulous in contacts that are honey and light brown. Green and hazel are also a good pick.
  • Individuals with hair that is blue-black or strawberry blond in color or a cool skin tone characterized by blue undertones can go for contact lenses that are plum, ice blue, or violet.

And while the two points mentioned above point to a harmony struck between the color of your overall physique and that of the eye contact lenses, it is essential that you settle for the contacts look the most natural on your eyes. Such lenses will blend in instead of having a striking appearance.

Keep in mind that color eye contact lenses are made by different manufacturers and come in different sizes and with colors done in different densities and patterns.

The contacts are designed to move a bit when your blink; this is to ensure they fit correctly and do not irritate the eyes. However, if they move about too much when you blink, they will not stay centered as they should, and this will not give you a natural look. The colored portion of the contact lens should superimpose perfectly over the iris.

The opaque color contacts have a clear zone in the middle of the lenses that allows light through to enter the eyes through the pupils. But many of the color-enhancing lenses are design for aesthetics, they deepen or enhances your eyes’ natural color.

Therefore, the clear center of the lens should perfectly align with the pupil and the same size as your pupil. If that is not the cases, then the contacts will not give your eyes an enhanced but natural look.

Making Your Final Choice

An eye doctor should verify that the colored eye contact lenses are safe and a perfect and comfortable fit. You should narrow down your choices to two or three colors and then fit a lens of a particular color in one eye and the other colored contact lens in the other eye.

Close one eye or cover it with a hand as you look at yourself in a hand-held mirror in different lighting. Ask if you can step into a different lighting setting to see how each eye looks so that you can make the best choice.

When Were Contact Lenses Invented?

Contact lenses might seem like a fairly recent phenomenon, but Leonardo da Vinci, the famous Italian inventor and mathematician developed the first known sketches back in 1508 suggesting that it was possible to alter the optics of the human eye by placing the cornea in direct contact with water.

However, the truth is that contact lenses were invented for real much later. It is believed that da Vinci’s ideas were responsible for the eventual development of contact lenses over 3 and a half centuries later.

Sir John Herschel, an English astronomer proposed the idea of making molds of a person’s eyes in 1827. The molds would help in the production of corrective lenses that would conform to the eye’s front surface. However, it would be more than 50 years later when someone would actually produce such lenses and controversy still surrounds the identity of who actually did it first.

According to some, it was F.A. Muller, a German glassblower that used Herschel’s ideas to come up with the first known glass contact lens back in 1887. Other reports say that it was actually Adolf E. Fick and Edouard Kalt, a Paris optician that created and fitted the first glass contact lenses for correcting vision problems back in 1888.

The early glass contact lenses were quite heavy and would cover the eye’s entire front surface including the sclera (white) of the eye. Since these large lenses reduced the supply of oxygen to the cornea significantly, wearers would only tolerate them for several hours, and they never gained widespread acceptance.

William Feinbloom, a New York optometrist, introduced new scleral lenses in 1936 made of a combination of glass and plastic that were considerably lighter than previous glass-blown contacts.

Kevin Tuohy, a California optician, introduced the first contact lenses that resembled the modern contact lenses back in 1948. They were all-plastic lenses and were referred to as “corneal” contact lenses since they were smaller in diameter than earlier contact lenses and only covered the cornea, which is the eye’s clear front surface.

The early hard lenses were made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which is a non-porous plastic material. The PMMA lenses weren’t gas permeable, but they were fitted in such a way that they could move with every blink, so oxygen-laden tears could be “pumped” under the lens to ensure that the cornea stayed healthy.

The contact lenses known as “Corneal PMMA” could be worn for around 16 hours a day or even longer when properly fitted. Advances that were made in lens manufacturing techniques as well as eye doctor expertise at fittings, led to the mass appeal of the hard-plastic contact lenses back in the 1950’s and 60’s.

The invention of the first hydrophilic hydrogel soft contact lenses by Drahoslav Lim and Otto Wichterle who were Czech chemists back in 1959 was probably the greatest event in the history of contact lenses.

It was the discovery by Lim and Wichterle that led to the introduction of the first soft contact lenses to be approved by the FDA in the United States.

Soft contacts quickly become more popular than hard contact lenses made of PMMA due to their greater comfort. Today, in spite of the fact that rigid gas permeable contacts that usually provide sharper vision compared to soft lenses and very good oxygen permeability are readily available, over 90% of all contact lenses in the US are actually soft lenses.

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