Halloween is just around the corner, and with Halloween comes the common topic of colour contact lenses. Around this time every year, Optometrist offices experience an influx of calls relating to colour contact lens wear: “Do I need a prescription?” “Are they like my everyday lenses?” “Are they safe to use?” “Where can I buy them from?”
Let’s take some of these common questions and break them down.
Do You Need a Prescription for Colour Contact Lenses?
The short answer is yes.
Our eyes require oxygen to function, and laying anything overtop of the surface of the eye will hinder its ability to absorb oxygen in the air. All contact lenses – colour or clear – are thin pieces of silicone polymers that are specifically engineered to allow for oxygen to travel through the lens to the eye. Because they can have such a detrimental affect to our ocular health when they are not fitted properly, contact lenses are regulated medical devices by law, and must be prescribed by an eyecare professional, even if the lenses themselves do not carry any visual correction.
Eyecare professionals look at more than just the prescription to assess how a contact lens fits. Just as everyone’s eyes are unique in size and shape, not every contact lens is the same size. Your eyecare professional will look at several different factors: are the contact lenses too tight? Too loose? Too small? Would you be better suited to a monthly lens rather than a daily? Your eyecare professional will also instruct you on the proper care and handling of a lens, to ensure maximum comfort and minimal risk for contact lens related complications, such as bacterial transmission that can cause infection.
The ideal contact lens fit is more than just being able to see the 20/20 line!
Are Colour Contact Lenses Like Clear Contact Lenses?
Colour contact lenses are designed to sit on the eye in such a way as to cover the iris with a small ring of colour and give the desired visual effect. This requires more precision to design as well as to fit. Colour contact lenses also tend to be thicker, so consideration about how it will affect breathability and the eye’s tear layer must be noted as well.
Remember, contact lenses are made up of specially engineered silicone compounds and polymers to allow for breathability. The largest contact lens manufactures spend billions of dollars in research and development over the years improving the material and the manufacturing, both for clear and colour lenses. You’re not going to get the same kind of quality with a pack of lizard-eye contact lenses you found online for Halloween. Most of the time, these lenses are made with outdated materials to keep their costs low, but these materials are nowhere near as healthy or comfortable to wear as modern materials.
Even temporary contact lenses worn by actors for film and theatre use must be prescribed; there are a few professionals specifically trained to work and fit for those industries.
You should always speak with your eyecare professional before trying out any time of contact lens.
Are Colour Contact Lenses Safe To Use?
All contact lenses must be fitted properly by a healthcare professional, and your optometrist will always recommend the safest and most effective contact lenses available that are suited to your needs and expectations. Please follow the optometrists’ prescribed wear schedule, and handling and care regimen.
The same goes for colour contact lenses. There are modern colour contact lenses, available both with and without visual correction, that eyecare professionals can look to when prescribing for their patients, both as monthly wear and daily wear options.
Where Can I Buy Color Contact Lenses?
After getting them fitted, your eyecare practitioner can place an order for you.
At 360 Eyecare, we have a number of different ways to order lenses once the fit is complete; you can phone or email us, or you can even visit our website and order your lenses directly through our online store and have them shipped directly to you!
To speak with one of our eyecare practitioners to see if colour contact lenses are right for you, or to arrange for a contact lens fitting, please reach out to any of our locations: 360 Eyecare – Rosedale or 360 Eyecare – Beaches.