Are Colored Contacts Dangerous for Your Eyes?
Your classmates, colleagues, and friends may be using colored contact lenses and fashionable anime-style circle lenses. So what is the harm if you buy yourself a pair of contacts online and join the bandwagon?
There is no harm if you have a valid prescription. Selling both corrective and cosmetic contact lenses is illegal without a prescription—and for a very good reason. You should keep in mind that all contact lenses—both prescription-grade ones and purely cosmetic types—are medical devices. When you use them, you do so responsibly and under the supervision of an eye care professional. You are placing them directly on your delicate eyes. That fact alone should already make you hesitate to wear one without an eye doctor’s advice.
The alluring effect of colored contact lenses has long been leveraged by many people, especially those in the entertainment and fashion industry. Colored contacts range from normal-looking shades that heighten a person’s natural eye color to outrageous ones, such as purple and pink, which are designed to shock and elicit attention.
A more recent fad involves the use of circle lenses. Pop singer, Lady Gaga, wore a pair of circle lenses in her music video for Bad Romance. Those startlingly huge, doe-like eyes come courtesy of circle lenses, which are designed so they cover not only the iris as in the case of conventional contacts but also part of the whites of the eyes.
How can a seemingly nice and innocuous pair of colored contacts or cartoonish circle lenses hurt you?
When you obtain one without a prescription, you risk not getting authoritative advice from a professional who will tell you that some eye drops used with your contacts will react with certain medications that you may be taking. Some anti-acne medications and birth control pills can affect your experience of wearing contacts. Some antihistamines are also known to cause eye dryness and discomfort for contact lens wearers.
In the case of wearing circle lenses that extend to the whites of the eyes, you deprive your cornea of much-needed oxygen. The extended wearing of contacts is dangerous. It can result in scarring, corneal ulcerations, and blindness. And vision loss caused by microbial keratitis, an eye condition frequently associated with extended-wear soft contact lenses, may be irreversible. That is why eye care professionals specify the amount of time that contacts can be safely worn.
There is also the problem of your arbitrarily choosing your lenses’ corrective power along with the color. Buying corrective contact lenses is not similar to choosing the size of the hat you wear over your head.
If you should buy your contact lenses online, go with sites that confirm their customer’s prescriptions with the respective eye care professionals.
The bottom line: use a valid prescription when getting your contacts. You may have heard of some people who are able to safely get away with wearing them without an eye care professional’s help, but it may not be the same in your case. It is always best not to risk it.